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Judicial Recusal: 21st-Century Challenges
26 Sep 2014
The School of Law at Birmingham City University and Modern Law Review present an International Seminar.

Headline Speakers

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The Panel: The Rt Hon Lord Roger Toulson, The Hon Sir Grant Hammond, The Hon Michael Kirby, The Hon Raymond J McKoski
Chair: Mark George QC

Judicial recusal is the principle that judges must disqualify themselves from participating in proceedings if they decide that it is not appropriate for them to hear a case. In Blackstone’s time judges were only required to recuse themselves in cases of actual bias. Subsequently there has been a tendency to widen this to include apparent bias – a doctrine of appearances.

A recent series of high profile recusal cases has come before courts across the world in which:

  • a Justice of the Supreme Court of New Zealand was forced to resign his office
  • the Supreme Court of the United States implicitly reprimanded a State Supreme Court Justice for his failure to recuse
  • in the UK, Lord Hoffman's failure to recuse in In Re Pinochet resulted in the case having to be reheard.

This timely seminar brings together a pre-eminent panel of serving and former judges from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States to discuss problems of recusal, the reasons for its recent rise in significance and to identify unresolved issues. They will also submit papers for publication by The Modern Law Review.

Mark George QC

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Questions and concluding remarks

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