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
11 April 2007

Sex work (again…)

A reader is still hot under the collar because of my remarks on sex work last week and write:

Prostitution not only affects those who make use of its services (broken marriages, STD’s and HIV/AIDS, robbed clients, embarrassing situations for our esteemed politicians, etc.) but for the practitioners of the practice. While they are abused every day, they are still on the wrong side of the law (except if they’re under-age, or coerced) and should be punished.

I agree that prostitution may affect those who make use of the services of sex workers as well as sex workers themselves. It just seems logical, though, that the solution is not to criminalize the behaviour – which was what led to the harm in the firs place.

If we legalized sex work, it would be easier to ensure that sex workers practices safe sex and did not rob clients (but of course its impossible to pass any law that would stop politicians from making fools of themselves). Men who visit sex workers and whose marriages then break up should never have stayed married in any case.

Legalisation would also protect sex workers from exploitation by clients and pimps because they would be doing a job like anyone else and would fall under the same labour law which would protect them. They would also have to pay tax, which would make Pravin Gordhan very happy.

And what would the downside be? Sex workers would be allowed to do a job that was perhaps not the most glamorous or enjoyable job on earth. Still seems like a no-brainer to me.

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