IBA names first Australian winner of Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Daye Gang was recognised for her work in restorative justice for sexual and family violence victims

IBA names first Australian winner of Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

The International Bar Association (IBA) has named the first Australian winner of its annual Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.

Korean-Australian lawyer Daye Gang was recognised for her work in restorative justice for sexual and family violence victims, as well as for her efforts to make North Korean legal information more accessible to facilitate international accountability.

“When I hear of a young person reaching heights like those reached by Daye Gang, I know that the future of the legal profession is in safe hands. Her determination to be at the front lines of pursuing accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims with such vigour is commendable,” IBA President Horacio Bernardes Neto said. “Although Ms Gang’s specific field of research of restorative justice for the victims of sexual and family violence is fraught with challenges and difficulties, she has displayed great commitment to bringing about change and working towards the practical application of her findings. Her courage, fortitude and hard work are plain to see. Her achievements are nothing short of remarkable.”

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Gang has provided valuable advice to UN agency members, EU offices and US Congress members. She has also guided UN humanitarian missions in optimising the target of their engagement.

She has collaborated with the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights to expand on the efforts of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Among her contributions to the work is her translation of North Korean laws into English to facilitate academic research into comparative law and conflict of laws; this in turn enables “more legally informed decisions for sanctions enforcement and accountability for international crimes, and providing greater accessibility to journalists,” the IBA said.

“Occasionally, a young lawyer comes along who makes everyone around them sit up and take notice. Daye Gang has made a profound and exceptional contribution to international law during her short career. Her background, intellect, commitment and integrity make her uniquely placed to pursue accountability for crimes committed in the DPRK, and to seek justice for victims,” said Michelle Bakhos and Marco Monaco Sorge, co-chairs of the IBA Young Lawyers Committee, in a joint statement. “We are certain that she will accomplish great things in her career, and are delighted that she is recognised as the 2020 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer.”

Law Council of Australia President Pauline Wright also congratulated Gang on her accolade.

“I am very proud to see that the skills and talent of this Korean-Australian female lawyer have been recognised by such an illustrious international forum. I believe that we can expect to see a lot more of Daye Gang in the years ahead,” Wright said.

Gang told the IBA that as part of her career goals, she aims to assist in designing restorative justice programmes and “other evidence-based policies for victims of systemic human rights abuses, including for those who were victimised by the government of the DPRK.” She also looks to help progress the cause of women and non-binary people of colour so that “legal and political decisions in Victoria, Australia and around the world can be made with equitable representation and the full complexity of the human experience.”

“I have the honour of winning this award in large part thanks to the mentoring that helped me overcome structural barriers to education and training,” she said. “Giving opportunities, sharing resources, targeting training – I can’t overstate the importance of extending your ladder down, which is something I will strive to continue in my own practice. Thank you to the IBA, and thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey.”

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