Law and change: Scottish legal heroes
Law and change: Scottish legal heroes

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Law and change: Scottish legal heroes

6.3 Bias

One aspect of the rule of natural justice is that ‘no one shall be the judge in their own case’. If a decision-maker has a financial or other interest in the outcome of the case, they cannot be, or seen to be, impartial.

The rule deals with actual bias and with the appearance of bias; hence the saying ‘Justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done’. No one should be able to allege that a decision was a fix because the decision-maker was biased, whether or not there was any truth in that allegation. The rule must be observed strictly to maintain public confidence in the decision-making process. If, for example, the applicant for a grant is known personally to the decision-maker, or the decision-maker has dealt with the applicant before and decided against the applicant or expressed a view adverse to the applicant, it may be appropriate to refer the application to a different, or more senior, official.

Article 6 of the ECHR (fair determination of civil rights) also requires that a court or tribunal must be, and have the appearance of being, impartial and independent.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371