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 August 2011

Correction of SABC report by DCJ Moseneke

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PRESS RELEASE

Monday 15 August 2011

 Yesterday the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported that in my address to the annual conference of the South African Chapter of the International Association of Women judges at North West University I said almost 90% of South Africa’s courts have not delivered judgment on cases before them.

That report is inaccurate.

I stressed to the judges and magistrates who attended the conference that the delay in the finalisation of cases may lead to injustice and that judges and magistrates are duty-bound to deliver judgments promptly.  I added that almost 90% of complaints against judicial officers relate to judgments that had not been delivered promptly.

Clearly this does not mean that “almost 90% of South African Courts have not delivered judgment on cases before them.”

This inaccuracy in reporting is to be regretted because firstly the SABC appeared to televise the entire address and more importantly, by and large, Courts of this country do their work diligently and as promptly as it is reasonably possible.

Issued by:  Dikgang Moseneke

Deputy Chief Justice

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