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
6 February 2011

Toolkit for Action for Optional Protocol to ICESCR

The NGO Coalition for an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has launched a Toolkit for Action for the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR.

The Toolkit provides practical guidance to NGOs and other civil society groups, as well as States on their work around the Optional Protocol. The Toolkit aims to facilitate international and national advocacy work for the ratification and the entry into force of the Protocol and the national implementation of economic, social and cultural rights.

The Toolkit includes four Booklets:

Booklet 1: Refreshing Your Knowledge about the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – explains:
• The content of the Covenant that the Optional Protocol seeks to enforce.
• States’ obligations under the Covenant, the role of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the body of experts in charge of implementing the Optional Protocol and the challenges related to the implementation and enforcement of ESCR.

Booklet 2: Overview: The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – describes:
• The procedures and mechanisms introduced by the Optional Protocol.
• The adoption and ratification process of the Optional Protocol.
• The competence of the Committee to receive and consider complaints against States Parties.

Booklet 3: Why Should States Ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?
• Outlines some of the key incentives for States to ratify and implement the Optional Protocol.
• Challenges the myths contesting the justiciability of ESCR.
• Offers tools to advocate for ratification and domestic implementation of the Optional Protocol.

Booklet 4: Tools to Lobby Your Country and Advocate for the Ratification and Implementation of the Optional Protocol:
• This final Booklet provides information, resources and templates to assist civil society groups in their lobbying efforts for the ratification and implementation of the Optional Protocol.

The Booklets can be accessed at the following website:

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