yet it did happen, in my experience, regularly. To lawyers on either side of a case.
Shrugging it off with a "trial judges are human and make mistakes" isn't a good answer.
Equivalent conduct on a football (soccer) pitch would get you at least a yellow card, maybe even a red card.
The hockey equivalent is probably a 10 minute if not a game misconduct for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Most experienced enough litigators have had trials where one of the grounds of appeal they wanted to make was that the trial judge was biased and the bias affected the result or at least there's a reasonable basis for concluding that the bias may have affected the result.
That's a difficult argument to win except in egregious cases. If one is lucky, there are also significant enough errors of fact and law that will allow the appellate court to to intervene without having to deal with the actual or apparent bias issue at all.
The case below is an apparent example. I have set out excerpts.
We have to assume that if the transcript provided an explanation of any weight for the trial judge's conduct, the ONCA would have said so. The transcript does suggest that the relationship between defence and plaintiff counsel was not friendly. " ... In the two weeks before trial, Mr. McLean served a motion to remove the Jarbeaus’ counsel, but did not proceed with that motion. Mr. McLean’s counsel refused to communicate with the Jarbeaus’ counsel, except in writing. This was a bare-knuckle battle. ... "
Jarbeau v. McLean, 2017 ONCA 115
 The respondents, Darren and Lillian Jarbeau, had the misfortune to purchase a leaky new home from Thermolith Homes Limited (“Thermolith”). The home did not meet the standards set by Ontario’s building code. Their troubles might have been avoided if the engineer hired by Thermolith, Larry Nelson, (the “engineer”) had not negligently certified the design and construction of the home.
 Unfortunately, the lawyer the Jarbeaus hired to sue those responsible for building and selling them a defective home was also negligent. Their lawyer, Ian McLean, sued Thermolith, the City of North Bay and Tarion Warranty Corporation, but he failed to sue the engineer within the limitation period. Mr. McLean negligently advised the Jarbeaus that they did not have a cause of action against the engineer because they did not have a contract with him.
 After the Jarbeaus settled the first action, they sued Mr. McLean. The claim pleaded against Mr. McLean was that “but for” his negligence, the Jarbeaus would have successfully sued the engineer and recovered all of their losses from him. On the eve of trial, Mr. McLean admitted his advice was negligent.
 In light of Mr. McLean’s admission, the trial of the action against him focused on whether his negligence caused the Jarbeaus any damages. Following a “trial within a trial” of the cause of action that could have been brought against the engineer, a jury found in the Jarbeaus’ favour.
 The jury assessed the cost to repair the home at $433,000 and the diminution in value of the home because of the defects at $265,000. The jury then deducted the $75,000 the Jarbeaus received in the settlement of the first action, for a net amount of $190,000.
 The trial judge characterized the cost of repair finding as perverse and granted judgment for $190,000, representing the lesser of the cost to repair and the diminution of value. Ultimately, he slashed over $100,000 from the costs claimed by the Jarbeaus, even though they had bettered a settlement offer before trial pursuant to r. 49.10 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 194, explaining that the jury’s diminution in value finding was also perverse.
 Mr. Mclean appeals from the judgment on two grounds:
- The trial judge erred in his instructions on causation by failing to instruct the jury that the Jarbeaus’ claim should be framed as a claim for a loss of the chance to have the engineer present at the settlement table in the first action. This would entitle the Jarbeaus to damages in proportion to the probability that their action against the engineer would have succeeded – an amount that Mr. McLean submits is necessarily less than 100%.
- The award for diminution in value was perverse, as the jury must have attributed zero value to the home and concluded that only the land had value, despite the absence of evidence to support this conclusion.
 The Jarbeaus also appeal and seek leave to appeal, on three bases:
- Neither of the jury’s assessments of damages was perverse and the trial judge ought to have given judgment for the cost to rebuild the home rather than diminution of the value of the home due to the defects.
- The trial judge erred by refusing to allow the Jarbeaus to advance a claim for legal costs incurred in the first action as damages in the proceeding against Mr. McLean on the ground it was not pleaded in the statement of claim.
- The trial judge erred by reducing the Jarbeaus’ claim for legal costs in circumstances where they recovered judgment exceeding the amount for which they offered to settle pursuant to r. 49.10.
 Neither party is asking for a new trial.
 Mr. McLean asks this court to reduce the damages to $50,000 or $60,000 if we agree that the jury’s assessment of damages on both diminution in value and cost to repair was perverse. In the alternative, if this court agrees that the trial judge should have framed the Jarbeaus’ claim as one for the loss of a chance, Mr. McLean asks that we reduce the damages by 10-20%. This would reflect the contingency that an action against the engineer may not have succeeded or may have settled for an amount less than the total loss.
 The Jarbeaus ask that we grant judgment for the costs to repair or rebuild, without deducting the amount recovered from the parties in the first action because those funds were consumed almost entirely by legal fees. They also ask that we award them their trial costs pursuant to r. 49.10.
 For the reasons that follow, I would dismiss the appeal and allow the cross appeal.
 ... the trial judge explained that his practice is not to interfere with closing submissions absent egregious improprieties. The trial judge explained that if counsel’s closing submissions do cross the line, he would deal with those issues in his charge to the jury.
 The trial judge interrupted the Jarbeaus’ counsel and excused the jury during his closing submissions. He raised the following five improprieties with counsel that arose during his closing: ...
 These criticisms of the Jarbeaus’ counsel’s closing submissions were largely unjustified.
 Despite the interruption of counsel’s closing address and his criticism of counsel, the trial judge did not find it necessary to give any correcting instruction to the jury arising out of his expressed concerns.
 It serves no purpose to highlight the many inappropriately derisive comments made by the trial judge directed at plaintiff’s counsel. The purpose of the foregoing is to set out the context for the trial judge’s reduction of the Jarbeaus’ costs. There were some slips by counsel, but they were modest, and might have added an hour to a two-week trial. The conduct of counsel did not warrant penalizing the Jarbeaus to such a significant extent.
 Whether a jury verdict is or is not perverse or unreasonable is a matter for an appellate court, not an issue to be dealt with by the trial judge: Lang v. McKenna,  O.J. No. 2983, at para. 24. I have already concluded that the jury’s assessments of damages were not perverse. There was a significant punitive element in the trial judge’s reduction of costs, and that punitive element was not warranted.
The plaintiffs were entirely successful in their appeal. The ONCA decision was unanimous.