Born on 11 August 1955 at Umniao hamlet, South Fly District of the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. After completing Primary and Secondary education in his Fly River District, Western Province attend the University of Papua New Guinea from 1975 -1978. graduating with a Bachelor of Laws degree. Completed his legal training Institute in 1979 and was admitted to the bar in 1979 and went on to work with the Office of the Public Prosecutor. He was a State Prosecutor for 6 and a half years. He then moved to the PNG Ombudsman Commission as its Counsel in 1996. In 1988 he was appointed Principal Magistrate and in December 1989 he was appointed an Acting Judge of the National Court for 6 months. He was made a substantive Judge in June 1980. He has served as a Judge for 29 years, 9 of those as Deputy Chief Justice.
He is an elder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and is the President of Religious Liberty of PNG.
Justice Ambeng Kandakasi was appointed Deputy Justice of the Supreme and National Courts of Justice of Papua New Guinea (PNG) on 13th December 2018. He was appoint a Justice of the same Courts in 2000. His Honour holds a master’s degree in Law from the University of San Diego, USA and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of PNG. Also, His Honour is accredited as a mediator in Australia, New Zealand and PNG. Before His Honour’s appointment, he was a partner of the firm of Young & Williams Lawyers and taught law at the University of PNG.
Presently, His Honour chairs the PNG Judiciary’s ADR Committee overseeing the development and successful implementation of court annexed mediation in PNG. His Honour leads a team of Judges, Magistrates and lawyers designing ADR and mediation systems and structures and implementing them. He has a passion for continuing legal and judicial education and is actively involved in mediation skills training. Most of his trainees have been judges, magistrates, lawyers and other professional s, in Solomon Islands, Australia, Fiji, Malaysia and PNG. He has attended and facilitated at a number of local and international workshops and trainings in a number of areas of the law, ADR and in particular mediation. He has published a number of Judgments on mediation and ADR. Further, he has presented and published several papers at international and local conferences and journals in the areas of mediation and ADR and human rights. His Honour was and continues to be the Vice President of the Perth based, Asia Pacific Mediation Forum (APMF).
His Honour Justice Gavara-Nanu graduated with a Bachelors degree in Law (LLB) from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in February 1975 and enrolled at the Legal Training Institute in Port Moresby straight after graduating from UPNG. In November 1975 he was provisionally admitted as a lawyer.
In December 1975, his Honour joined the State Solicitor’s Office as a Legal Officer. In September 1976, his Honour was fully admitted as a lawyer whilst still being employed by the State Solicitor’s Office. Towards the end of 1978, his Honour joined the Office of the Public Prosecutor and in early 1979 was appointed Senior State Prosecutor. Later in the same year, his Honour was appointed Acting Public Prosecutor until 1981, when his Honour was appointed Public Prosecutor of Papua New Guinea for a term of three (3) years. In 1984, his Honour was re-appointed as Public Prosecutor for a further three (3) years.
His Honour took up post graduate studies at the University of Sydney in 1985. His Honour graduated with a Masters degree in Law (LLM) from the University of Sydney in February of 1987. After returning to Papua New Guinea, his Honour resumed work as the Public Prosecutor. Before the end of 1987, his Honour resigned from the position of Public Prosecutor and set up his own law firm, operating under the name – “Les Gavara-Nanu & Co. Lawyers.” In mid 2000, His Honour was appointed a Judge of the Supreme & National Courts of Papua New Guinea. He has been a judge since.
His Honour was a Counsel Assisting the Commission of Inquiry into students’ unrest at the University of Papua New Guinea in 1978. He also served on various Boards of Government Institutions, including then Post & Telecommunication. In mid 1997, his Honour was appointed inaugural Chairman of the Board of Directors of Papua New Guinea Telecommunication Authority (PANGTEL) on its established.
His Honour was awarded an ‘Officer of the British Empire’ (OBE) for services to Law and Community in 1998. In 2007, he was awarded the ‘Companion of the Star of Melanesia’ (CSM) for services to Community and Religion.
In 2017, his Honour was appointed Judge of the Solomon Islands Court of Appeal for 2 years. Other members of the Court of Appeal, which is the highest court in Solomon Islands, come from England, who is the President of the Court of Appeal, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and Vanuatu. The member from Vanuatu is the Chief Justice.
His Honour has been teaching “Role of an Advocate and Principles of Advocacy” at the Legal Training Institute since 2003, during “Civil and Criminal Advocacy Workshops” that are run every year by the Legal Training Institute for its students, with the assistance of the Victorian Bar.
His Honour Justice Jeffery Shepherd holds degrees in law and anthropology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is admitted to practice in the High Court of New Zealand, the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the superior Courts of Papua New Guinea. Formerly a senior partner with the litigation and intellectual property teams at the Port Moresby office of Ashurst Lawyers, Justice Shepherd was appointed a judge of the Supreme and National Courts of Justice of Papua New Guinea on 31 October 2016. He commenced judicial duties on 27 January 2017.
His Honour is a founding member with Justice Ambeng Kandakasi of the PNG judiciary’s ADR Committee established in 2001. His Honour is a fully accredited mediator under the ADR Rules 2010 of the National Court and is assigned to the ADR Track of the National Court. Apart from his role as a civil judge, His Honour conducts Court-annexed mediations and assists with workshops and training programs for PNG mediators. He is a member of the Rules Committee of the Supreme and National Courts and is adviser to the ADR Committee on matters relating to the implementation of new legislation dealing with international and domestic arbitration in Papua New Guinea.
Serves as a judge of the Fiji Supreme Court and a resident justice of appeal of the Fiji Court of Appeal, after retiring from his position as judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 2012. He is also the national coordinator of the National Judicial Education Committee, the chairperson of the Fiji Law Reports Committee, as well as a committee member and accredited mediator of the Fiji Mediation Centre.
Justice Chandra obtained his LLB and LL.M. from the University of Colombo and did private practice from 1972 to 2008. He served as a consultant to several leading banks and institutions, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank. He was also the deputy permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York in 2009 and a member of the panel of arbitrators of the Sri Lanka National Arbitration Centre. Justice Chandra has been a resource person for the International Labour Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the Sri Lanka Bar Association, and the Sri Lanka Judges‘ Institute. He also taught at the Faculty of Graduate Studies of Colombo University, the Open University of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Law College, and the University of Moratuwa.