Difference Between Procedural and Substantive Due Process

Substantive Due Process vs Procedural Due Process

Due process of law is a phrase that has been discussed in the 5th and 14th amendments of the US constitution. These pertain to the fundamental rights granted by the constitution to the citizens of the country and are inspired by the Magna Carta of England. Due process guarantees certain rights such as freedom of life and liberty and a promise that all individuals will be treated in a legal and fair manner and not on any arbitrary manner. However, there are two different aspects of this due process of law termed as substantive due process and procedural due process. People remain confused between these two because of many similarities and overlap. This article takes a closer look at the two processes to come up with their differences.

Substantive Due Process

Substantive due processes are limitations or restrictions imposed upon the abilities of the government to interfere or infringe upon the personal freedoms or liberties enshrined in the US constitution. These limitations give power to the courts in the country to stop authorities from acting in any arbitrary manner and deprive a citizen of his life, liberty, or property without giving him a free and fair trial, which means after following the due process of law. Thus, substantive rights of a citizen, which happen to be his fundamental rights, are protected through substantive due process. These due processes require the government to give an individual prior notice and follow the process required by law before infringing upon his fundamental rights. When substantive due process is invoked, a court has to decide whether the law is reasonable if it deprives an individual of his fundamental rights.

Procedural Due Process

Procedural due process ensures fairness in all proceedings against an individual by the government. This due process protects the fundamental rights of a citizen by placing riders and restrictions in the path of the government. This process requires the government to proceed in the direction of law if it decides to deprive an individual of any of his fundamental rights. If a citizen is deprived of any of his fundamental right, he has to be given due notice, and a chance to present his case and be heard by a competent authority before such action by the government can take place.

Substantive Due Process vs. Procedural Due Process

Both substantive, as well as procedural, due processes are two different aspects of the same due process of law that originates from the 5th and the 14th amendments of the US constitution. However, a distinction between the two due processes is noticed where the procedural due process (PDP) aims to protect the fundamental rights of a citizen by ensuring that government follows the rules, and a free and fair trial is given to him. On the other hand, substantive due process prevents the government from exceeding the limits set upon itself by the law of the land. Thus, substantive due process put a brake upon the government when it announces policy statements. If a court finds that the government has exceeded its limits, the rule cannot become a law of the land.