Mediation court gets another judge

The Court Annexed Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) or mediation court now has another judge, Justice Jeffrey Leonard Shepherd who will be assisting Justice Ambeng Kandakasi.

Justice Shepherd was sworn in today at the Government house by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio in the presence of Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika, Justices Ambeng Kandakasi, Nicholas Kirriwom, Derek Hartshorn, Les Gavara-Nanu and Terrence Founds.

Formerly a senior partner at Ashurst law firm, he is a PNG Accredited Mediator and was the Principal of Shepherds Mediations providing court-annexed mediation and arbitration services in PNG.

He has been a member of the Judicial Alternate Dispute Resolution committee and was intensively involved in the drafting of the ADR rules which has been adopted as part of the National Court rules during his work in the ARD committee.

Speaking to the press today, Justice Shepherd said he intends to bring his wealth of experience in the committee and his career experience spending over 30 years in PNG as a litigation lawyer.

“And I am very pleased that I have been paired with Judge Kanadakasi, he and I have worked with the ADR committee to make mediation a reality as part of the courts process. 

“I am well acquainted with National court and Supreme Court procedures and that with my very real interest in mediation, not only as a case management tool but also means of resolving cases, where the parties themselves decide the outcomes is an area of benefit that I can bring to the National Court,” he said.

Born in New Zealand, Shepherd was admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor in the High Court of New Zealand in 1976. He was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in New South Wales in 1980. On Aug 30, 1983, Shepherd was admitted as a lawyer of the National and Supreme Court of PNG and practiced with the office of the Public Solicitor.

Shepherd’s appointment was announced on Oct 31, 2016 by Chairman of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission Ano Pala.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia said his appointment brings the total number of judges in the country to 39.

He said the judiciary lost three permanent judges; Justice Catherine Davani (to death), Justice John Kawi (retired on medical grounds) and Justice Goodwin Poole (reached retirement age of 75).

“So the judiciary has been trying to replace the 3. We made one appointment last year, Justice Terrence Foulds, now Justice Shepherd and we have one more appointment coming, to be sworn in soon.

“Of the 39, we have 4 acting appointments, and 35 permanent judges. Statutory ceiling is 40 permanent judges; we still have a vacancy of 5 permanent judges to go,” Sir Salamo said.

(Picture courtesy of Office of the Chief Justice.)

Sally Pokiton