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
8 June 2010

First, Mr Vavi is speaking the truth — corruption is real. Anyone denying it is living in a fool’s paradise. We are producing more scandals than our soccer team can score goals. Second, Mr Vavi is articulating thoughts and fears of the dejected electorate. Our partisan and docile Parliament cannot be trusted to defend democracy. One can’t help but think that P arliament’s duty is to protect the executive. In the absence of strong opposition parties, the likes of Mr Vavi are our prophets and voices of sanity. It is absurd for elected officials to live in opulence whilst the masses are trapped in poverty. Democracy cannot benefit the few and exclude the rest. – Dr Lucas Ntyintyane in a letter in Business Day

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