P, a property company, challenged the decision of a Rent Assessment Committee on the basis that D, a member of the committee, had, as a solicitor, given rent advice to tenants of a close business associate of P. CA found for P, holding that the facts were such as to give the reasonable impression that he was biased even though there was no actual bias on his part. Accordingly the decision must be quashed and the case remitted to another assessment committee.
Lord Denning MR: “The court looks at the impression which would be given to other people. Even if he was as impartial as could be, nevertheless if right-minded persons would think that, in the circumstances, there was a real likelihood of bias on his part, then he should not sit. and if he does sit, his decision cannot stand”. It is irrelevant whether he was in fact biased, because “justice is rooted in [public] confidence”.