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
7 May 2007

David Bullard hits nail on head

David Bullard has evoked a fire storm in the South African Blogosphere (see here, here and here for examples) with his column in the Sunday Times yesterday in which he stated that Blogs are generally of a very low quality:

They’re cobbled together by people who wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism, mainly because they have very little to say. It’s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else.

Can’t see what is wrong with that statement. Bullard seems to be rather kind, actually. Because I have been mad enough to start a Blog myself, I have recently been exposed to other Blogs and most of it is tedious drivel. Its mostly, (white people’s) conventional wisdom and communal prejudices dressed up as opinion and analysis.

People have a right to share their pearls of wisdom with the world, but surely the rest of us have a right not to take it too seriously. Let’s face it, my Dean of research is not going to award me research points for the finger exercises on this Blog because it is not serious writing.

On one count Bullard does get it wrong. He claims that the content in the Sunday Times is of a certain quality because it has been through editing processes. But one only has to skim that newspapers pages to be made aware of the sorry state of journalism in South Africa. Sometimes I wonder whether those people get paid to write so badly about such brain curdling boring issues. The New York Times it ain’t.

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