Hon. Teresa Doherty

Justice Teresa Doherty

Country:  Northern Ireland

Court: Special Court for Sierra Leone, Appointed in 2005, Judge of Trial Chamber II

Positions Held:
Judge of the High Court and the Court of Appeals of Sierra Leone (2003 – 2004)
Parole Commissioner for Northern Ireland (since 2002)
Legal Chair Appeal Services for Northern Ireland (2002 – 2014)
Private law practice in Northern Ireland (1998 – 2003)
Judge of the Supreme and National Courts, Papua New Guinea (1988 – 1997)
Principal Magistrate in Papua New Guinea (appointed in 1987)
Private law practice in Northern Ireland and Papua New Guinea (1976 – 1987)
Joined the Bar of Northern.Ireland, New South Wales, and Papua New Guinea in 1978

Experience:
Co-founder with Minty Mae of the Association of Women Judges in Papua New Guinea
Member of the Commonwealth Reference Group on Rights of Women and Girl Child
Member of the IAWJ; Pacific Representative (1990 – 1994)
Visiting Professor – University of Ulster
Adjunct Professor – University of Cork

Honors:
Awarded a 10th Independence Medal by Papua New Guinea for Social Justice
Awarded a CBE for “Outstanding Contribution to the Judiciary and the Community”
Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University of Ulster: contribution to International Law

Notable Firsts:
First woman judge in the South Pacific Islands region
First woman elected as a Councillor of the Law Society of Papua New Guinea
First woman appointed as a Principal Magistrate in Papua New Guinea
First woman Senior Land Court Magistrate in Papua New Guinea


Justice Teresa Doherty first worked as a civil servant and volunteer in Zambia before studying law. With other students she worked in legal aid clinics during the fighting or “troubles” in Northern Ireland. She was admitted to the Bar in 1978. From 1976-1987, she practiced law in Northern Ireland and Papua New Guinea and was noted for her work for women’s rights and for prisoners. She made a weekly broadcast on legal issues in Tok Pidgin. In 1987, she was appointed Principal Magistrate in Papua New Guinea and, from 1988-1997, she served as a judge of the Supreme and National Courts. She was the first woman judge in the South Pacific Islands region. In 1998, she returned to private law practice in Northern Ireland, where she worked until 2003. Most recently, from 2003-2004, Judge Doherty has served as a Judge of the High Court and the Court of Appeals of Sierra Leone, at the request of the Commonwealth following the civil war. Since 2002, she has served as Parole Commissioner for Northern Ireland. In 2005, she was appointed by the United Nations to the Special Court for Sierra Leone (the international war crimes tribunal for Sierra Leone) and serves as judge of Trial Chamber II. Her dissenting opinion declaring forced marriage as a crime against humanity was upheld on appeal and is the first declaration in international law on this crime. She was also a member of the first tribunal to convict for the conscription, enlisting, and use of children in armed conflict (child soldiers).

 Interview

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