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
2 November 2012

[T]here is no part of society in which people don’t look towards some sort of magic to strengthen themselves against the vicissitudes of life. Middle class people are, for instance, often fanatically wedded to all kinds of belief in magic ranging from prosperity cults organised, oddly enough, in the name of a Palestinian carpenter who scorned wealth to various kinds of quackery, the fantasy that the possession of commodities can miraculously transform us at the level of our essential being and actual belief in concepts as entirely divorced from reality as the fiction that we inhabit an ongoing ‘national democratic revolution’,  that there could be a ‘Zuma moment’ to match the ‘Lula moment’ or that ‘the free market’ could liberate us all. – Richard Pithouse at SACSIS

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