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
18 September 2012

As citizens, rich or poor, black or white, we are excluded from the heart of the processes that create all levels of government around us. None of us is more excluded than the migrant Tembu and Pondo miners of places like Marikana. They have literally nothing, for not even the land on which they leave their families behind can ever belong to them, thanks to a disgraceful political bargain made by the ANC with traditional leaders, entrenching the power of chiefs to control the allocation of land in territories under their authority. The decision may have bought the ANC a degree of political support in Transkei for a decade, but it cannot possibly be fair or democratic to make a man or woman incapable of owning (or trading) the land they were born on. Apartheid made the accident of birth a burden for life. The ANC still does the same to people born on tribal lands. – Peter Bruce in Business Day

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