Daye Gang wins 2020 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Monday 9 November 2020

The 2020 International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Outstanding Young Lawyer Award recipient has been named as Daye Gang (pictured) for her work, dedication and efforts in the emerging field of restorative justice for victims of sexual and family violence, as well as her pursuit for accountability of perpetrators of crimes committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The presentation was made online during the Section on Public and Professional Interest Awards ceremonywhich took place on Monday 9 November 13:30 – 14:00 GMT, as part of the IBA 2020 - Virtually Together Conference.

On receiving notification of being the 2020 awardee, Ms Gang commented, ‘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. 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.’

IBA President Horacio Bernardes Neto said, ‘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. 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.’

Ms Gang’s first peer-review paper, as the first author, was published in the journal Trauma, Violence and Abuse. The paper attempted a systematic review of programme evaluations of restorative justice programmes for sexual and family violence. In a second manuscript, she reveals the changes in politicians’ positions on rape and sexual violence through analysing Parliamentary debates on rape law amendments. The papers have confirmed the importance of evaluation and historical review in implementing restorative justice in sexual and family violence cases.

Ms Gang works with the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights in continuing the work of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK. The Commission of Inquiry was satisfied that international crimes were continuing in North Korea. Civil society organisations have continued this work in ongoing investigations connecting the political and military leadership to past and continuing international crimes. Plans are now afoot to build the case for universal jurisdiction.

With North Korean legal information not readily available in English, Ms Gang has sought to make it so. She has worked extensively on translating North Korean laws into English (www.lawandnorthkorea.com), with the aim of opening academic research into comparative law and conflict of laws, enabling more legally informed decisions for sanctions enforcement and accountability for international crimes, and providing greater accessibility to journalists. 

Ms Gang has made key contributions at briefings of members of United Nations agencies, European Union offices, and representatives of the United States Congress. She has been able to advise UN humanitarian missions on how best to target their engagement.

Ms Gang, who also mentors law students and graduates formally and informally, shared some of her career aspirations, including wanting to:

  • Help design 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.
  • Be part of a generation of women of colour that helps other women and non-binary people of colour to make sufficient advances 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.’

Ms Gang graduated from her Bachelor of Laws at Monash University in Australia in 2015 with First Class Honours, specialising in Human Rights and International Law. A year later she was accepted into the PhD programme with the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights, where her research spans law, criminology, feminist theory and history.

In a joint statement, the Co-Chairs of the IBA Young Lawyers Committee Michelle Bakhos and Marco Monaco Sorge commented, ‘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. 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.

Each year the IBA Young Lawyers’ Committee recognises a young lawyer who has not only shown excellence in their work and achievements in their career to date, but has also demonstrated a remarkable commitment to professional and ethical standards. The individual is presented with the Award established in recognition of William Reece Smith Jr – a past IBA President who distinguished himself as one the finest and most respected legal experts in a career spanning more than 50 years. LexisNexis sponsored the Award following Mr Reece Smith’s passing in 2013.

The full 2020 SPPI Award Ceremony can be watched here.


Notes to the Editor

  1. Information about the IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award is available here: www.ibanet.org/Committees/Divisions/Legal_Practice/Outstanding-Young-Lawyer-of-the-Year-Award
  2. Information about the IBA Virtually Together Conference is available here: www.ibanet.org/VirtuallyTogether-2020
  3. Journalists requiring media accreditation to attend the IBA Virtually Together Conference should email romana.daniel@int-bar.org
  4. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

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