“The judgment of the Court was given by Sedley LJ. In paragraph 10 of his judgment he set out the test for bias and explained that
Bias in the present context has to mean the premature formation of a concluded view adverse to one party. We put it in this way because it is well recognised not only that a judge may and commonly will begin forming views about the evidence as it goes along, but that he or she may legitimately give assistance to the parties by telling them what is presently in the judge’s mind.
In paragraph 12 Sedley LJ posed the question:
The question remains whether the thoughts he communicated were nevertheless such as to suggest to a reasonable observer that his mind was all but closed against the defendant.”

Civil Litigation Brief

As we have seen many times in this blog trial judges sometimes have to make robust findings of fact about the credibility of witnesses. In Howe -v- Gossop [2016] EWHC 2169 (Ch) His Honour Judge Behrens (sitting as a High Court Judge) had to consider a situation where robust findings had been made but there were further issues to be decided.  The claimant argued that the judge was biased and a fair trial not possible.

“There can be no criticism of the Recorder in assessing the witnesses at that time. Indeed it was part of his duty to do so.”


  • A trial judge who had made robust findings of fact adverse to a party was not to be assumed to biased so as to have to recuse themselves in relation to the trial of future issues in the same case.
  • The claimants’ appeal against a refusal of…

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