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Administrative LawText and Materials

Administrative Law: Text and Materials (5th edn)

Mark Elliott and Jason N. E. Varuhas
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date: 30 March 2023

p. 316 9. Bias, Impartiality, and Independencelocked

p. 316 9. Bias, Impartiality, and Independencelocked

  • Mark ElliottMark ElliottProfessor of Public Law, University of Cambridge
  •  and Jason VaruhasJason VaruhasAssociate Professor, University of Melbourne


This chapter examines the notions of impartiality (and bias) and independence. It first provides an overview of the scope and rationale of the rule against bias before discussing the connection between impartiality and procedural fairness. It then reviews the ‘automatic disqualification rule’ by which a decision-maker can be disqualified if he/she has a sufficient financial interest in the outcome of the decision-making process. It also explores the apprehension of bias and the ‘fair-minded observer rule’, along with the political dimensions of the rule against bias. Finally, it considers Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights in an administrative context and when Article 6(1) applies to administrative decision-making. A number of relevant cases are cited throughout the chapter, including R v. Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy [1924] 1 KB 256.

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