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
19 June 2009

Surprise! Paul Ngobeni is a liar

I took part in a debate with Paul Ngobeni this morning on SAFM about whether Judge President John Hlophe should be appointed to the Constitutional Court. My dear friend Paul said in his opening remarks that I had written on this Blog that I “hate” Hlophe. I was rather taken aback by this as I have never written on this Blog (or anywhere else, for that matter) that I hate anyone. Ngobeni was, in fact, telling a scurrilous lie. What I actually said was EXACTLY the opposite, and I quote:

Really, it deeply angers me that those who are charged by the Constitution to uphold the Constitution and the law could steep so low. They should be ashamed of themselves. This does not make me a person who hates the Judge President (or his lawyers). It does make me a person who is very, very angry with the Judge President. It makes me a person who is beginning to wonder whether the Judge President has the requisite moral compass required to continue serving as a judge in our beautiful democracy – regardless any finding of the JSC in the CC case against him.

Mr Ngobeni has shown a propsensity to distort both facts and the law to suit his purpose and this morning was no exception. If I was Hlophe I would feel ashamed to be associated with such blatant dishonesty. As Judge Hlophe himself has been caught telling lies, I suppose it is par for the course though.

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