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
12 June 2013

Opposition to tolls has become a badge of civic virtue. Those who reject them invoke democratic slogans and insist they are fighting an attempt by big government to stamp on the citizenry, rich and poor alike. Opposing the tolls is assumed to show that you are willing to take on the powerful in support of social justice and the poor. To support them is to invite being labelled a government lackey, a friend of tyranny or one who despises the poor. All of which is odd, as e-tolling is a standard exercise in progressive taxation, which is usually supported by those considering themselves friends of the poor. – Steven Friedman in Business Day

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