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 February 2007

JSC to revisit Hlophe matter?

The Cape Argus reports today that the JSC will re-open the matter of Judge President John Hlophe and the almost R500 000 he received from Oasis for “out of pocket expenses”.

Does this mean that there are discrepancies between the version provided to the JSC by Judge Hlophe (and accepted by a majority of its members) and the information that came out in court papers? Surely Justice Hlophe would not have been unwise enough to make claims to the JSC that can be contradicted by hard evidence?

My innitial response to this sorry saga has not changed.

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