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
13 November 2010

Anton Fagan is a law professor at the University of Cape Town. We remember him in academic dress marching with TAC for the dismissal of then-Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. But speaking generally he has never understood the Constitution, the society in which lives or his privilege. He eschews context and people in his scholarship. Schooled in the formalism and steeped in the pedantry of a law professor, he came to the defence of DA leader and Western Cape Premier when she viciously and personally attacked Janet Love of the Legal Resources Centre as a “dumped cadre”. Love failed to meet Zille’s standards of independence or integrity as a Human Rights Commissioner after that body found her party’s City of Cape Town administration to have violated the Constitution. – Zackie Achmat on the Writing Rights Blog

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