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 May 2012

“Looking back, I think we have triumphantly avoided being triumphalist. There is no officially commanded art. Artists may be poor but they are free. Freedom of artistic creativity is expressly guaranteed in the constitution, as is freedom of artistic expression. Ours is an admirably open and democratic society. It artists are afraid, it is that they might be regarded by their colleagues and critics as being too politically correct. We take this freedom for granted, which is as it should be. The range and diversity of themes and forms of expression are unlimited; Leading public figures are mimicked and mocked and frequently, if not always, join in the laughter. I feel proud of the maturity of our nation. We are in a strange position. No group is in charge; no section exercises cultural hegemony. The old establishment has lost its hauteur, but no confident and powerful new establishment has emerged to replace it.” – Justice Albie Sachs, Sunday Times, 15 October 2000

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