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
20 September 2023

On the torpidity and tardiness of the LPC

The [laudable aims of the Legal Practice Act] will remain little more than lofty ideals rather than achievable goals if the necessary will and effort to give effect to them is not present amongst the administrators of the profession. Having a code of conduct which sets out the fundamental rules by which an attorney is to practise and which provides that they shall at all times maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity and shall treat the interests of their clients as paramount, is all good and well, but it is worth very little unless it is enforced… if those practitioners who contravene the rules and standards of the profession are not dealt with promptly and effectively by [the LPC], then instead of ensuring accountability and upholding the integrity and status of the profession a culture of impunity is fostered and the profession is lowered in the eyes of the public, and the values and principles which are essential to its survival are debased.

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