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
20 July 2012

Inaugural lecture by Professor Wouter de Vos: Is a Class Action a ‘Classy Act’ to Implement outside the Ambit of the Constitution?

The Inaugural lecture by Professor Wouter de Vos: Is a Class Action a ‘Classy Act’ to Implement outside the Ambit of the Constitution?

 July 31st: OT Moot Ct, Kramer: 17h30 and afterwards for refreshments

RSVP: Liesel.Collins@uct.ac.za

In his paper Professor de Vos first gives a brief overview of the leading foreign jurisdictions in the field of class actions. Thereafter he analyses the present legal position in South Africa with reference to the constitutional provision and the leading cases dealing with class actions. He concludes with an appeal to government to follow the leaders in this area and to adopt comprehensive legislation regulating this complex procedure. It is arguable that the courts can entertain and develop class actions by virtue of their inherent jurisdiction but such an approach is not supported because it would not lead to uniformity and certainty.

Wouter de Vos (BA LLB LLM LLD (RAU)) was admitted as an advocate in 1978 and practised at the Johannesburg Bar for three years. Over the next 27 years he lectured at UJ, US, and Rhodes and he joined the Department of Public Law at UCT in 2009 where he teaches Law of Evidence and Criminal and Civil Procedure. He is the author of over 40 articles.

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