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
8 February 2022

On impeachment and accountability

Impeachment processes are the means through which accountability and fidelity to the rule of law can be attained.  To leave such processes suspended in mid-air, as it were, for as long as it would take for the matter to be heard in the ordinary course does not accord with the public interest in the finalisation of the important issues raised in this matter. After all, Chapter 9 institution office-bearers perform an important role in upholding a constitutional democracy, and the determination of the validity of the rules that hold these office-bearers to account cannot be thwarted or subjected to delays.

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