What is the Fundamental Fairness Doctrine?
How do you legally define fundamental fairness?
What are the important elements you should know!
In this article, we will break down the legal definition of Fundamental Fairness Doctrine so you know all there is to know about it!
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Table of Contents
Understanding Fundamental Fairness Doctrine
The Fundamental Fairness Doctrine is a legal theory requiring that the law and government must provide individuals with due process before taking away their liberty, life or property.
This doctrine is a rule that applies to the rule of due process which is guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Fundamental Fairness definition
The fundamental fairness principle in criminal proceedings and procedural law is essential to protect the rights of individuals and allow them the opportunity to have due process.
According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute on the principle of Fundamental Fairness:
The Court has held that practically all the criminal procedural guarantees of the Bill of Rights—the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments—are fundamental to state criminal justice systems and that the absence of one or the other particular guarantees denies a suspect or a defendant due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Essentially, the U.S. Constitution provides the necessary protection to individuals and guarantees them due process in any criminal proceedings.
Fair legal process
The notion of Fundamental Fairness is an important pillar to protecting individual private rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.
In the context of a legal proceeding or lawsuit, it means that the parties:
- Are entitled to a fair and impartial hearing
- Have the right to be represented by an attorney
- Can present their evidence to the court
- Can challenge and cross-examine the other party’s witnesses
- Should not be compelled to provide self-incriminating evidence
These are basic fairness principles required for a democratic society based on the rule of law to protect its citizens and afford them fundamental rights when dealing with the justice system.
For this reason, it is considered that the Fundamental Fairness Doctrine is synonymous with due process.
Due process, in the United States, states that every individual and citizen is given the right to fair and impartial treatment when dealing with the judicial system.
The Fundamental Fairness Doctrine applies more specifically to the rule of Due Process when the law deals with an individual.
For instance, the Fairness Doctrine requires that the courts handle a defendant’s case or a lawsuit fairly and impartially.
Another important aspect is to ensure that a person does not testify against his or her own interests resulting in an incrimination of some sort.
In a nutshell, the law must treat a person charged with a crime fairly.
So, what is Fundamental Fairness?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Fundamental Fairness Doctrine:
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Related legal terms
Forfeiture of bail
Procedural due process