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
8 July 2012

You probably haven’t read them but there’s been a rash of articles in the papers arguing that we should stop being beastly to the bankers. All right, there are a few bad apples but they do vital work for the economy. If they relocated to the Cayman Islands, we’d all be living in penury. That’s the gist. It’s a fair point. And it also applies to another all too frequently vilified group: Britain’s criminals. It’s easy to let the unacceptable actions of a few – pulling out toenails to make people hand over pin numbers, gassing guards etc – colour our judgment. But in Britain we have the finest criminals in the world. By liberating vast sums of money that would otherwise lie fallow in banks or under old ladies’ mattresses, they increase demand and help kickstart the recovery. – Simon Hoggart in The Guardian

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