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
22 July 2013

As soon as Zuma began to look good in his job [as Deputy President], mediating the conflict in the Great Lakes and making bold statements on HIV/Aids, Mbeki began to get uncomfortable. This led to the bizarre allegations of a plot to oust Mbeki – Ramaphosa was supposedly one of the conspirators – all of which proved to be nonsense. But Mbeki’s paranoia led to a peculiar media statement from Zuma in 2001 when he denied he had designs on the presidency. Still Mbeki perceived Zuma as a threat, which led to the extraordinary course of events over the next eight years until Mbeki’s recall from office. – Ranjeni Munusamy at Daily Maverick

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