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
7 September 2016

On the destruction of SARS

In January, senior SARS officials up to level seven were ordered by SARS commissioner Tom Moyane to re-apply for their jobs. Seasoned staff with years of experience and international training and with formidable successes under their belts were flown to Pretoria where they were re-interviewed and assessed by audit, consulting, corporate finance, tax services and risk advisory firm, Deloitte. In August, many of those interviewed learned their fates. As National Projects is to be disbanded, says a SARS insider, the type of in-depth national investigation the unit was capable of conducting will no longer occur, leaving a massive gap that organised criminals as well as unscrupulous individuals are bound to exploit.

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