The defendants requested the judge to recuse himself because one witness was well known to the judge. He declined, saying that arrangements had been made for him not to be called. The defendant appealed.
Held: There was no allegation of actual bias, only the risk of apparent bias. The judge should have stood down. The judge acknowledged that they had known each other for 30 years, and that if he had had to assess the witness’ evidence he would be placed in difficulty. The witness had such a close connection with the party that he could not be separated from it. The calling of alternate witnesses did not resolve the difficulty.
Mummery LJ said: ‘The test . . is that, having ascertained all the circumstances bearing on the suggestion that the judge was (or would be) biased, the court must ask ‘whether those circumstances would lead a fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility . . that the tribunal was biased’ ‘
Mummery LJ, Latham LJ, Carnwath LJ
 EWCA Civ 6,  1 WLR 1163
England and Wales
Cited – Taylor and Another v Lawrence and Another CA 25-Jan-2001
Boundary dispute appeal – whether court has apparent bias. The court must ask ‘whether those circumstances would lead a fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility . . that the tribunal was biased.’ . .
Cited – Taylor v Lawrence CA 4-Feb-2002
A party sought to re-open a judgment on the Court of Appeal after it had been perfected. A case had been tried before a judge. One party had asked for a different judge to be appointed, after the judge disclosed that he had been a client of the firm . .
Cited – In Re Medicaments and Related Classes of Goods (No 2); Director General of Fair Trading v Proprietary Association of Great Britain and Proprietary Articles Trade Association CA 21-Dec-2000
The claimants alleged that a connection between a member of the Restrictive Practices Court, who was to hear a complaint and another company, disclosed bias against them. She had not recused herself.
Held: When asking whether material . .
Cited – Lawal v Northern Spirit Limited HL 19-Jun-2003
Counsel appearing at the tribunal had previously sat as a judge with a tribunal member. The opposing party asserted bias in the tribunal.
Held: The test in Gough should be restated in part so that the court must first ascertain all the . .
Cited – Porter and Weeks v Magill HL 13-Dec-2001
Councillors Liable for Unlawful Purposes Use
The defendant local councillors were accused of having sold rather than let council houses in order to encourage an electorate which would be more likely to be supportive of their political party. They had been advised that the policy would be . .
Cited – Regina v Gough (Robert) HL 1993
The defendant had been convicted of robbery. He appealed, saying that a member of the jury was a neighbour to his brother, and there was therefore a risk of bias. This was of particular significance as the defendant was charged with conspiracy with . .
Cited – Locabail (UK) Ltd, Regina v Bayfield Properties Ltd CA 17-Nov-1999
Adverse Comments by Judge Need not be Show of Bias
In five cases, leave to appeal was sought on the basis that a party had been refused disqualification of judges on grounds of bias. The court considered the circumstances under which a fear of bias in a court may prove to be well founded: ‘The mere . .
Cited – Tibbetts v The Attorney General of The Cayman Islands PC 24-Mar-2010
(Cayman Islands) The defendant appealed against his conviction for money laundering, alleging apparent bias in a juror who was said to have been acquainted with one witness.
Held: The appeal failed. The juror had correctly replied to the . .
Cited – Begraj and Another v Heer Manak Solicitors and Others EAT 17-Jun-2014
EAT Practice and Procedure : Bias, Misconduct and Procedural Irregularity – An Employment Judge was approached by Police Officers part way through a lengthy hearing. They gave her information prejudicial . .
Cited – Hewitt, Regina (on The Application of) v Denbighshire Magistrates’ Court Admn 22-Oct-2015
The claimant, a hunt protester appealed against her conviction for harassment saying that the judge had given the appearance of being biased. He had, on being asked denied being a member of the hunting community. She said that he had whilst in . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 26 January 2021; Ref: scu.237739