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
5 August 2010

The general secretary of the SA Communist Party, who works as minister for higher education when he feels like it, wants the media shackled because it has shown him up to be a hypocrite. This champion of the working class drives posh cars and lives it up in fancy hotels — at our expense. Now he wants a tribunal to stop or frustrate the media from telling the truth. But that’s par for the course, I suppose. After all it was Vladimir Lenin who blurted: “Telling the truth is a bourgeois prejudice. Deception, on the other hand, is often justified by the goal.” – Barney Mthombothi in an editorial in Financial Mail

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