He was educated in England, obtaining a BSc in botany, zoology and geology, and then taught biology in Northern Ireland.
In 1979 he went to the South Pacific, where he first worked in Fiji for six and a half years. He then served as a judge on the Court of Appeal of the Solomon Islands where, from circa 1988 to 1992, he was Chief Justice. He then moved to Tonga to become Chief Justice of Tonga and a judge of the Supreme Court of Tonga. In 1995 he moved to serve as a judge in Cyprus before returning in 1998 to serve a second term as Chief Justice of Tonga, resigning in 2004 in protest at attempts to ban the Times of Tonga newspaper, a paper unsympathetic to the government, a move which he considered to be unconstitutional.
On leaving this post he took up a new position as the President of the Appeal Court of Fiji. In 2007, following the December 2006 military coup, Ward and five other judges resigned as judges of the courts of Fiji.
He was the Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands from 2008 to 2012 and was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to the judiciary in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Commonwealth.
Ward was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Tuvalu from 2001 to 2016. In May 2013 the Chief Justice ruled on the application of the Tuvaluan Opposition regarding the calling of a by-election for the vacant seat in Nukufetau, which led to the Nukufetau by-election, 2013. The Chief Justice was forced to conduct the legal proceedings by email as a consequence of being unable to travel from New Zealand to Tuvalu via Fiji as the Fijian government refused to provide Sir Gordon Ward with a visa that allowed him to travel from New Zealand to Fiji and then to transit to Tuvalu.
- "21ST PACIFIC JUDICIAL CONFERENCE 2014". Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- Susan Boyd (2003), "Australian judges at work internationally", Australian Law Journal, vol. 77, p. 303 at 305.
- "Tuvalu govt yet to address Fiji travel ban on Chief Justice". Radio New Zealand International. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "Two Malaysian judges appointed to Fiji Court of Appeal". Radio New Zealand International. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 2.
- "Attorney General, In re Application under Section 131(1) of the Constitution of Tuvalu  TVHC 15; Civil Case 1.2013 (24 May 2013)". PACLII. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- Matau, Robert (June 2013). "Tuvalu's high court orders by-election to be held". Island Business. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Tuvalu Judge unable to transit via Fiji". Cook Islands News. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Tuvalu hopes Fiji's travel ban on chief justice sorted quickly". Radio New Zealand International. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
- "Visa issue between Chief Justice Ward and Fiji Government says Tuvalu PM". Island Business from FENUI NEWS/PACNEWS. 22 January 2014. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
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