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
21 February 2014

JSC Conduct Tribunal statement on Judge Motata

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
JUDICIAL CONDUCT TRIBUNAL

MEDIA RELEASE

21 February 2014

Judicial Conduct Tribunal to deal with preliminary issues raised by Judge Motata

On 06 January 2007, Judge Motata of the Gauteng Division of the High Court was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Gleneagles Road in Hurlingham, Johannesburg, in which he crashed into a wall belonging to Mr Baird. Arising from this incident, the JSC received two complaints lodged by AfriForum and Adv G C Pretorius SC. The essence of AfriForum‘s complaint is that Judge Motata, whilst at the scene of the said accident made some racist remarks against Mr Baird. Advocate Pretorius’ complaint relates to the manner in which the respondent pleaded to the charges he faced at his criminal trial in which he denied that he was driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and that he conducted his defence in a manner inconsistent with the ethics of judicial office.

On 22 February 2014, the Judicial Conduct Tribunal (Tribunal) mandated to investigate and report on the complaints lodged by AfriForum and Advocate G C Pretorious SC will sit to consider preliminary issues raised by Judge Motata.

One of the preliminary issues raised by Judge Motata is that the Tribunal should not proceed to hear the merits of the complaints while there is a constitutional challenge to section 24 of the Judicial Service Commission Act, 1994 which empowers the Tribunal President to appoint a member of the National Prosecuting Authority to collect evidence on behalf of the Tribunal, pending in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in the litigation initiated by Justices Nkabinde and Jafta.

The Tribunal proceedings will commence at 11h00 at the Southern Sun – OR Tambo International Airport located at the Airports Grounds, Jones Road.

Issued by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal
Contact: Mr Sello Chiloane, 079881 4455
Email: Chiloane@concourt.org.za

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