- Privy Council considers unconscious bias (Almazeedi v Penner and another (Cayman Islands)  UKPC 3)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- Actual versus unconscious judicial bias
- The test for unconscious judicial bias
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: In this unusual case, the Privy Council allowed an appeal which challenged the independence of a judge on the basis of unconscious bias. The judge in question, Cresswell J (a distinguished former judge of the High Court of England), was sitting as a judge of the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court, Cayman Islands. In that capacity, he was assigned with the conduct of a winding-up petition of BTU Power Company (BTU), whose entire economic interest was held by various Qatari interests with strong state connections. Creswell J had conduct of the proceedings between November 2011 and September 2014. From late 2011, he also became a Supplementary Judge of the Civil and Commercial Court in Qatar. The court held that although it appeared that Creswell J had never received any remuneration from the Qatar court, nor had he ever tried a case there, nevertheless his failure to disclose his Qatar position represented a flaw in his apparent independence. In the absence of disclosing his position, the court held that a fair-minded and informed observer would regard him as being unsuitable to hear the proceedings.
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