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
22 April 2011

I think this is the way the cookie crumbles. With the proviso that no-one knows the future – and it is always more unexpected than not –  and I think the cookie crumbling in the way that I have described means: (i) The Democratic Alliance continues to transform its racial profile (in electoral support as well as leadership) and strengthens its support in urban constituencies throughout the country in the May18 national municipal election. (ii) There is a significant showing in that election by other opposition parties and independents. (iii) Cosatu begins to plan for the inevitability of either ‘a coup’ within the ANC or a withdrawal from the Ruling Alliance and the establishment of a viable alternative political home. (iv) The backlash within the ANC after the election will be severe leading to very high levels of contestation before and during the 2012 elective centenary conference. – Nic Boraine speculating about the near future.

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