Quote of the week

Although judicial proceedings will generally be bound by the requirements of natural justice to a greater degree than will hearings before administrative tribunals, judicial decision-makers, by virtue of their positions, have nonetheless been granted considerable deference by appellate courts inquiring into the apprehension of bias. This is because judges ‘are assumed to be [people] of conscience and intellectual discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the basis of its own circumstances’: The presumption of impartiality carries considerable weight, for as Blackstone opined at p. 361 in Commentaries on the Laws of England III . . . ‘[t]he law will not suppose possibility of bias in a judge, who is already sworn to administer impartial justice, and whose authority greatly depends upon that presumption and idea’. Thus, reviewing courts have been hesitant to make a finding of bias or to perceive a reasonable apprehension of bias on the part of a judge, in the absence of convincing evidence to that effect.

L'Heureux-Dube and McLachlin JJ
Livesey v The New South Wales Bar Association [1983] HCA 17; (1983) 151 CLR 288
26 April 2010

I am tired of being part of a white world that sees itself largely unquestioningly as embodying the norms towards which everyone should aspire. I am tired of being called master. I am tired of the permanent distance between black and white. I am tired that my humanity is barely recognized by so many, who see me as master, as enemy or simply as alien, and that my very existence as a white person in South Africa should contribute to the dehumanisation of so many more. – Pedro Alexis Tabensky, Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Rhodes University, writing in the Cape Times.

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