July 9th, 2020 by James Goudie KC

Apparent bias exists where, in context, the hypothetical “ fair-minded” and “ informed” observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a “real possibility” that the tribunal was biased, for example by pre-judgment. In R (Roberts) v Leicester Crown Court (2020) EWHC 1783 ( Admin) it is held, para 48, that does not rule out “ probing the issues from the outset”. On the contrary : “ Early identification of the real issue in a case is very helpful to any tribunal”. Moreover, para 52, it is often helpful to indicate when a particular issue is troubling the tribunal.

However, para 53, the tribunal’s insistence that it has kept an open mind is not itself of much weight.

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