An allegation that a tribunal member is or was bias is a serious allegation and should not be made lightly. Before venturing down the bias allegation road, there are a few points to consider, including the following.
The test or principles to be applied in considering allegations of bias require the apprehension of bias to be reasonable. It must be held by reasonable and right minded persons applying themselves to the question. The test is “What would an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically, and having thought the matter through, conclude? Would he or she think that it is more likely than not that the decision-maker whether consciously or unconsciously not decide the matter fairly”.
There is a strong presumption that the Member is impartial. To overcome the presumption, the party alleging a reasonable apprehension of bias , must establish the presence of serious grounds. The inquiry is fact-specific and contextual.
Allegations of Bias once in a while are established in our systems of Justice, but for the most part day in and day out our Tribunals and Courts operate with impartiality. Careful consideration of the matter is required before venturing down the allegation of bias road, which challenges the integrity of the Tribunal Member and the proceeding. *
William Poulos, Barrister
* This blog is not a substitute for legal advice. Should you require legal advice, a lawyer should be consulted to advise on the specific circumstances of your case.