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
15 June 2012

Announcing a guest blogger for the next two weeks

I am flying off to Eastern Europe this afternoon and will only be back on 4 July. I am embarking on a very adventurous holiday with my four sisters (no spouses or partners allowed). My colleague, Jaco Barnard-Naudé, with whom I have co-authored several academic articles (we are just completing an academic article in Afrikaans on The Spear saga for Litnet Akademies), has kindly agreed to act as the guest blogger here at Constitutionally Speaking in my absence. Jaco is a professor in the Department of Private Law at the University of Cape Town and teaches and conducts research in critical jurisprudence. He is an NRF rated researcher and recipient of the UCT Fellows’ Award and also a contributor to the Mail & Guardian Thought Leader Blog.

Hope you enjoy the new perspectives and insights that Jaco will bring to the Blog in my absence. I won’t be blogging unless something earth-shattering happens in South Africa during my absence. (And what can the chances be of that ever happening — after all, this is South Africa where something earth-shattering, like the firing of a Police Commissioner hardly ever occurs!)

Have fun.

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