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
28 May 2008

Scorpions bombshell coming?

The Citizen reports this morning that Parliament has done an about-turn and launched a “desperate” last-minute bid against a Johannesburg businessman’s urgent High Court interdict application against disbanding the Scorpions.

Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairman Johannes Mahlangu filed affidavits with the Pretoria High Court on Monday, asking to present their case if Glenister intends to interdict Parliament.

From what I hear from lawyers and going on what was said in the media, it might well be that Mbete has gotten wind that the Court will rule against the government and the ANC leadership in Parliament is now trying to stop this from happening.

If the court rules in favour of the Johanneburg businesman it would be truly a legal bombshell. The judge will become the hero of the chattering classes and the villian of the new ANC eladership. Thing is, it is the same judge who acquitted Jacob Zuma on rape charges so vilifying him might be awkward.

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