The Rule Against Bias

22 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2010 Last revised: 22 Apr 2011

Date Written: April 19, 2009


The rule against bias is one of the two pillars of natural justice. The hearing rule governs the procedural features of decision making. The bias rule governs the attitude or state of mind of the decision maker. This article examines the foundation of the bias rule and the fiction of the “fair minded and informed observer” by whose conclusions claims of bias are determined. The article considers whether the objective test that supposedly underpins the notion of the fair minded and informed observer does little more than provide a cloak for the subjective views of the judges who apply that doctrine.

Keywords: rule against bias, fair minded, observer, decision making, administrative law, judicial review, bias, objective test, subjective

JEL Classification: K00, K1, K10, K19, K40

Suggested Citation

Groves, Matthew, The Rule Against Bias (April 19, 2009). Hong Kong Law Journal, Vol. 39, p. 485, 2009, Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010/21, Available at SSRN:

Matthew Groves (Contact Author)

La Trobe Law School ( email )

La Trobe University
Bundoora, VIC 3083 3142

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