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
3 June 2020

On the Public Protector again

The President explained that he deferred taking the action directed in the SARS Report because its lawfulness was being challenged and the question of whether he can take disciplinary action, absent an employment relationship, is yet to be decided. This was the correct approach by the President as it is in line with the decision in EFF I.  The President has undertaken to act as directed, should the SARS Report withstand judicial review.  The interim interdict serves an important purpose – it suspends the binding effect of the Public Protector’s remedial action until finalisation of the review proceedings.  This is not an act that undermines the Public Protector. Rather, it preserves the interdict-applicant’s rights while showing due respect to the binding powers of the Public Protector.

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