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
15 November 2016

On Brexit

Nothing that [UK prime minister Theresa] May was proposing was unconstitutional. There is no constitution. It was an archaic convention she was violating: the peculiar English belief in ‘parliamentary sovereignty’. The slogan in the referendum was ‘Take Back Control.’ But of what and from whom? The establishment Leavers said: ‘Take back the sovereignty of Parliament, the Ark of the English Covenant. England isn’t England if Parliament can be overruled by anyone – least of all by foreigners.’

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