There’s fairness and there’s procedural fairness
1. The ‘hearing rule’ – people who will be affected by a proposed decision must be given an opportunity to express their views to the decision maker.
2. The ‘bias rule’ – the decision maker must be impartial and must have no personal stake in the matter to be decided.
Procedural fairness has been codified in some pieces of Australian legislation and restricted in others. While the application of procedural fairness rules apply primarily to administrative and government decisions, it is unquestionably a cornerstone to our common understanding of justice.
Chief Justice French said in 2010: “I do not think it too bold to say that the notion of procedural fairness would be widely regarded within the Australian community as indispensable to justice. If the notion of a ‘fair go’ means anything in this context, it must mean that before a decision is made affecting a person’s interests, they should have a right to be heard by an impartial decision-maker.”