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 October 2012

It is truly amazing to what levels of depravity President Jacob Zuma manages to make men stoop. On Friday we had the incredible spectacle of the Minister of Public Works, the until-then-relatively-credible former trade union leader Thulas Nxesi, making a complete ass of himself as he tried to defend the fact that taxpayers’ money is being used to build the president a R238-million palace in his home village, Nkandla. Nxesi – instead of being absolutely outraged that his department is being abused to build the president a private palace while the man has the use of at least three massive residences in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal – used all manner of excuses to try to justify this blatant looting of the taxpayers’ money. – Justice Malala in The Times

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