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
21 October 2011

Unlike with kaffir, when the word “coolie” came to South Africa through the slave trade, it slipped into the local languages. Growing up, I cannot recall any other Setswana word to describe people of Indian origin other than as makula. I perceived no malice (and I believe that none was perceived) in its use except when conferred by tone or context in much the same way that the words “whites” or “blacks” are innocuous except when an inflection or the context gives clues to an underlying prejudice. Batswana and Basotho don’t usually use makula in a derogatory sense… while its etymology is derogatory the current use is not. – Osiame Molefe over at Daily Maverick on Julius Malema’s use of the word perceived by some to be racist.

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