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
27 November 2006

Same-sex marriage passes last hurdle

The NCOP committee voted today for an unamended version of the Civil Union Bill despite vociferous objections from religious groups. This just goes to show that the “compromise” of creating two marriage acts did not appease religious groups.

Why then compromise? Why not amend the Marriage Act and get it over with?

I suspect it has more to do with the politics within the ANC than with any attempt to appease religious groups. A separate act may have made it more palatable for ANC MPs to vote for the Bill. It gives them something to defend back home.

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