bill of rights
bill of rights /-'rīts/ often cap B&R: a summary of fundamental rights and privileges guaranteed to a people against violation by the government;
esp, cap B&R: the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution see also the constitution in the back matter

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. . 1996.

bill of rights
n.
A statement of fundamental rights of citizenship; the first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The Essential Law Dictionary. — Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. . 2008.


bill of rights
a document, frequently but not essentially, of high standing in constitutional law, which sets out protections for the citizen, usually from the state itself. Three notable examples now follow:
In the UK, an Act of the English parliament in 1689 on the assumption of the throne by William and Mary. It was a reaction to the excesses of the Stuart kings and declared the pre-eminence of Parliament and the constitutional restraints on the monarch. Parliament's right to levy money and free speech in Parliament were expressly provided for. Excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishments were forbidden. It went on to provide for the Protestant succession. In Scotland the Claim of Right was to the same effect. It is not, however, like the two more modern documents now considered.
In the USA, the first ten amendments of the Constitution of the USA. They protect, inter alia, the freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to assembly and procedural rules in criminal matters. Although they would appear to relate only to federal matters, the Fourteenth Amendment, enacted to protect Blacks after the Civil War, provides two clauses that have enabled the US bill of rights to extend to the states. The 'due process' clause has been treated as allowing the basic rights to be treated as applying to states, thus in Roe v. Wade 410 US 113 (1973) the Supreme Court struck at state abortion legislation. The 'equal protection' clause is directed towards discrimination and has allowed the court to interfere with state education policy: Brown v . Board of Education 347 US 483; 349 US 294 (1955).
In Canada, the Canadian bill of rights, properly so called, was enacted in 1960. It was, and is, a code of conduct to be followed in the creation of federal legislation – it is similar to the US bill of rights and protects traditional freedoms. Subsequently there has been enacted the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is entrenched in the constitution in Part I of the Constitution Act 1982 (Canada). The bill of rights remains law, and there are matters in the Bill that are not in the Charter, and vice versa. The Charter is founded on a categorisation of civil liberties into 'egalitarian liberties', relating to equality under law; 'legal liberties', covering protection under the criminal code; and 'political liberties', like freedom of speech, assembly, etc. New categories of rights were included: 'mobility rights' and 'linguistic rights', which protect people's right to use their language if it is French or English. The Charter goes further and provides for education in the first language learned and understood; it provides aboriginal rights. The 'reasonable limits' upon the Charter rights have been explored by the Supreme Court in R v . Oakes [1986] 1 SCR 103 and R v . Edwards Books [1986] 2 SCR 713. See also human rights.

Collins dictionary of law. . 2001.


Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments to the federal constitution, adopted in 1791. The Bill of Rights includes many cornerstones of our democracy: freedom of speech, religion, and assembly; prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and compelled self-incrimination; and the rights to due process and a speedy trial if accused of a crime.
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


Bill of Rights
n. The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.


Bill of Rights
A declaration of individual rights and freedoms, usually issued by a national government. A list of fundamental rights included in each state constitution. The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791, which set forth and guarantee certain fundamental rights and privileges of individuals, including freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; guarantee of a speedy jury trial in criminal cases; and protection against excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

Dictionary from West's Encyclopedia of American Law. 2005.


bill of rights
A declaration of individual rights and freedoms, usually issued by a national government.
 
A list of fundamental rights included in each state constitution.
 
The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791, which set forth and guarantee certain fundamental rights and privileges of individuals, including freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; guarantee of a speedy jury trial in criminal cases; and protection against excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment.

Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations.

Bill of Rights
n.
   the first ten amendments to the federal Constitution demanded by several states in return for ratifying the Constitution, since the failure to protect these rights was a glaring omission in the Constitution as adopted in convention in 1787. Adopted and ratified in 1791, the Bill of Rights are: First: Prohibits laws establishing a religion (separation of church and state), and bans laws which would restrict freedom of religion, speech, press (now interpreted as covering all media), right to peaceably assemble and petition the government. Second: A "well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." This is often claimed as giving the unfettered right of individuals to own guns, but is actually limited to the right of "the" people, meaning the body politic or the public as a group, to bear arms as militiamen Third: No quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent. Fourth: No unreasonable search and seizures, no warrants without probable cause, and such warrants must be upon "oath or affirmation" and describe the place to be searched or the person or things to be taken. Fifth: Prohibits criminal charges for death penalty ("capital punishment") or any other "infamous" crime (felony) without indictment by a Grand Jury except under martial law in the time of war or "public danger"; no person may be tried twice for the same offense; no one may be compelled to be a witness against himself ("taking the Fifth"), no one can be deprived of life, liberty or property without "due process of law"; no taking of property for public use (eminent domain) without just compensation. These rights have become applicable to states through the 14th Amendment as well as state constitutions. Sixth: Rights of criminal defendants to a speedy and public trial, impartial local jury, information on the nature and cause of accusation, confront witnesses against him, right to subpena witnesses, and have counsel. Seventh: Juries may be demanded in civil cases (over $20) and the jury shall be trier of the fact in such cases as required by Common Law. Eighth: No excessive bail, excessive fines or "cruel and unusual punishment." Note that denial of bail in murder cases or when the accused may flee is not "excessive," and capital punishment (like the gas chamber) may be cruel but not necessarily unusual. inth: Stating these rights shall not be construed to deny that other rights are retained by the people. Tenth: Powers given to the United States (central government) and not prohibited to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bill of rights — Bill Bill, n. [OE. bill, bille, fr. LL. billa (or OF. bille), for L. bulla anything rounded, LL., seal, stamp, letter, edict, roll; cf. F. bille a ball, prob. fr. Ger.; cf. MHG. bickel, D. bikkel, dice. Cf. {Bull} papal edict, {Billet} a paper.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bill of Rights — steht im englischsprachigen Raum für ein Gesetz, das grundlegende Bürgerrechte gewährt. Insbesondere: Bill of Rights (England), in England, ein Gesetz vom 23. Oktober 1689, das die Rechte des englischen Parlaments festlegte. Die Virginia… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bill Of Rights — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Bill of Rights 1689 (Angleterre) Bill of Rights 1787 (États Unis) Constitution des États Unis d Amérique Ce document provient de « Bill of Rights ».… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bill of rights — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Bill of Rights 1689 (Angleterre) Bill of Rights 1787 (États Unis) Constitution des États Unis d Amérique Ce document provient de « Bill of Rights ».… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bill of Rights — Bill′ of Rights′ n. 1) gov a formal statement of the rights of the people of the United States, incorporated in the Constitution as Amendments 1–10, and in all state constitutions 2) gov (l.c.) a statement of the fundamental rights of any group… …   From formal English to slang

  • Bill of rights — (engl., spr. raits, »Gesetz der Rechte«), ein Staatsgrundgesetz der engl. Monarchie, das deren parlamentarische Verfassung begründete; durch die B. wurde die nach dem Sturz König Jakobs II. von einer Kommission des Parlaments vereinbarte… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • bill of rights — n. 1. [B of R ] an act of the British Parliament passed in 1689, to confirm certain rights of the people and of Parliament ☆ 2. [B of R ] the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the U.S., which guarantee certain rights to the people, as… …   English World dictionary

  • bill of rights — plural bills of rights n a written statement of the most important rights of the citizens of a country …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Bill of Rights — Bill of Rights, the part of the US ↑constitution (=the basic laws of the country that cannot easily be changed) which is a list of the rights of US citizens, for example freedom of speech (=the right to say what you want to say, including… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bill of rights — noun singular an official statement of the most important rights that the citizens of a country have …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”