Daniel R. Williams
Procedural justice is the foundation of criminal trials—indeed, of all jurisprudential activity where deprivation of a life, liberty, or property interest is at stake. In Anglo-American jurisprudence, procedural justice is talked about in terms of procedural due process, a concept stretching back to the Magna Carta (1215). In the U.S. Constitution, the concept of procedural justice is captured in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which prohibit the government from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” But what exactly is procedural justice? It is helpful to examine the concept within the context of criminal trials because it is in trials where the concept of procedural justice is most visibly put to work. Criminal trials cannot be fashioned in a way that will always ensure the correct result. Mistakes will be made. For this reason, criminal trials (and all trials) are instances of imperfect procedural ...