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
30 March 2007

Are law lecturers thin skinned?

I see that the claim for damages by Mervyn Dendy, who used to be an Associate Professor at Wits Law School, was rejected by the Supreme Court of Appeal. Dendy had applied for promotion to full Professor with some other of his colleagues and was rather aggrieved at not being successful. The SCA upheld exceptions to the claims made by him on the ground that a reasonable person would not have felt humiliated and insulted in the circumstances.

I suspect the claim had more to do with the politics of affirmative action than with a person feeling personally slighted, but I do not know Mr Dendy, so can’t say for sure.

SHARE:     
BACK TO TOP
2015 Constitutionally Speaking | website created by Idea in a Forest