R v Watson; Ex parte Armstrong [1976] HCA 39

ON 3 AUGUST 1976, the High Court of Australia delivered R v Watson; Ex parte Armstrong [1976] HCA 39; (1976) 136 CLR 248 (3 August 1976).


The decision sets out the test under Australian law for apprehended bias.

A judge must not hear a case if “the parties or the public might reasonably suspect that he was not unprejudiced and impartial”: per Barwick CJ, Gibbs, Stephen and Mason JJ at 263.

Public confidence in the administration of justice is of fundamental importance: “If fair-minded people reasonably apprehend or suspect that the tribunal has prejudged the case, they cannot have confidence in the decision”: at 263.

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