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
9 March 2023

Nugent on Mpofu

The document is a disgrace. No less disgraceful than its repetition in [advocate Mpofu’s] address. The content of the document plays fast and loose with the facts, draws inferences from inadequate material, and is littered with abuse, invective, and sinister suggestion, purporting to support an allegation that, so it was said ‘the Commission has prejudged the issues before it and is merely going through the motions to reach a predetermined outcome’. The content of the document is directed also at throwing bait before the media aimed at, amongst others, reviving in the media an allegation that a ‘rogue unit’ existed within SARS.

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