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 October 2012

The mere act of reporting accurately on the lives and experiences of black people constituted a political action during those decades of white minority rule. The indefatigable Henry Nxumalo, “Mr Drum” of the early 1950s, deliberately engineered a week’s imprisonment by violating some degrading curfew law and brought out a harrowing report on prison conditions. But rather than improve its prisons, the apartheid regime passed the Prisons Act, making it illegal to report on any South African prison — the law Gandar and Pogrund fell foul of. Yet imprisonment for breaking one or other of the hundreds of laws and ordinances that regulated the lives of black people was the experience of thousands in urban areas. – Pallo Jordan in Business Day

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