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
25 September 2012

When it comes to the charges [against Julius Malema] themselves, and the allegation of the abuse of state institutions to neutralise political enemies, the best I can offer is to remind the nation that absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence. What may become even more important to remember at some point in the evolution of the Malema saga is that, as we say in Xhosa, there are times when the victim (Malema or Zuma) is actually cut by his own knife. Furthermore, the best way of insulating oneself against the manipulation of investigative, prosecutorial and judicial processes is to avoid committing crime, especially if one is a protagonist in ANC internal battles. – Aubrey Matshiqi in his Business Day column

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