The Marshall Islands has departed from past practice of hiring off-island attorneys to head its high court by naming an American who has lived in the country for more than twenty years as acting Chief Justice.
The government has appointed the new Judge, Carl B. Ingram, for ten years - the longest contract ever awarded to a non-Marshall Islander .
The justice minister, Witten Philippo, says the length of the contract will further encourage judicial independence and the security of tenure that is a prerequisite of such independence.
Mr Ingram, who was sworn in yesterday, first arrived in the Marshall Islands as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1979 and worked on Kili Island before being transferred to the Attorney-General's office.
He served as Attorney-General from 1982 to 1983.