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
11 March 2020

Con Court on the Public Protector

The Public Protector’s explanation of the meeting of 7 June 2017 with the Presidency was, and still is, woefully inadequate. … In this Court, the Public Protector has contended that the adverse findings made against her by the High Court were based on innocent errors on her part.  The Public Protector’s persistent contradictions, however, cannot simply be explained away on the basis of innocent mistakes.  This is not a credible explanation.  The Public Protector has not been candid about the meetings she had with the Presidency and the State Security Agency before she finalised the report.  The Public Protector’s conduct in the High Court warranted a de bonis propriis (personal) costs order against her because she acted in bad faith and in a grossly unreasonable manner.

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