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
17 December 2015

On patronage politics in the ANC

Nene’s firing sent the disturbing message that the rural barons were dominating the ANC. They have reportedly chosen the heads of the ANC women’s and youth leagues and its KwaZulu Natal leadership — now they could ignore a two-decades-old understanding in the ANC that the credibility of the finance ministry was more important than factional battles. But concern that the Treasury was in the hands of all-conquering patronage politicians united opponents on the left and right because it was clear that economic policy was not at issue, but whether the barons could get their hands on public resources.

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