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
16 November 2012

It is not unusual for powerful political entrepreneurs to launch self-serving, acerbic attacks on the black middle class for daring to comment unfavourably about the ruling elite. It is also common for the same politicians to launch racially charged attacks on so-called white capital while accepting back-handers in the form of lucrative business opportunities from the same purported enemy. They use their proximity to power in the ruling party and the state as a lever to gain access to these opportunities, while fooling the public into believing they are in a war on behalf of the poorer classes. In short, the convergence point of political, business and social interest of the elite is nothing more than a marketplace in which influences get traded for personal gain under the guise of social consensus. This situation is unsustainable and needs to change if this country is to achieve the level of the cohesion required to make great strides in social, scientific and economic development. – Zongezo Zibi in Business Day

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