2007, New South Wales
High Court of Australia
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia- Practising International Victims Counsel since 2009
Areas of Practice
As well as being a Director Member of William Forster Chambers in the NT, Lyma is also on Howell’s List Barristers in Victoria. Lyma has conduct of criminal defence and prosecution for all indictable, simple and regulatory offences, including corporation, transnational and international crimes. Her civil practice includes immigration, refugee and statelessness law; human rights and anti-discrimination; administrative law and judicial reviews; contracts, victims of crime matters, personal and domestic violence, mental health review tribunal matters, and professional disciplinary matters. Lyma has chaired the Teachers Registration Board Inquiry Committee and been engaged as Counsel Assisting in police disciplinary matters. She has had conduct of coronial inquiries, and appellate matters before the Supreme Court and NT CAT.
- Masters in Law (specialising in International Law), Australian National University
- Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law
- Bachelor of Laws, University of Queensland
- Bachelor of Arts (Double Major in Philosophy and Peace and Conflict Studies), University of Queensland
Appointments and Awards
- Nationally registered Accredited Mediator, Mediator Standards Board (August 2018)
- Registered on the List of Counsel before the International Criminal Court (June 2018)
- Appointed to pool of persons eligible for Local Government Disciplinary Committee (appointment to 13 November 2020)
- Director, Australian Volunteers International (honorary role, since 2014; renewed 2017); Member of AVI Governance Sub-Committee (2017).
- Member, Diversity and Equity Committee, Australian Bar Association (2016)
- Listed on French Consulate-General website as French-speaking lawyer in the NT (2016)
- Committee Member, Criminal Law Association of the Northern Territory (2017, 2014); Vice-President (2015-2017)
- Representative of NT Bar Association on Law Council of Australia’s Rule of Law Network (2015)
- Member, Northern Territory Bar Council (since 2014)
- ‘Trailblazing Woman Lawyer’ (one of 45 selected Australian female lawyers in oral history project conducted by ANU and University of Melbourne, 2014)
- Recipient of Churchill Fellowship (2014; fellowship undertaken 2015)
- Recipient of Australian Prime Minister’s Executive Endeavour Award (2013)
- Law and Justice Civilian Expert, Australian Civilian Corps (2012)
Lyma is an advocate practising both domestically and internationally in the areas of criminal law, administrative and public law, inquiries, and human rights. Lyma has been commended as one of 45 “Trailblazing Australian Women Lawyers”, particularly for her international pro bono work of nearly a decade, as International Civil Party Counsel at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (Khmer Rouge Tribunal), where she has appeared at Legal Arguments and Closing Submissions for Civil Parties in Case 002/01 as well as during the trial segment on the genocide of the ethnic Vietnamese in Case 002/02. Domestically, she appears in matters in the Northern Territory Supreme Court (criminal, civil, case stated and appeals jurisdictions); Local Court (criminal and civil jurisdictions); Youth Justice Court; NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal; Mental Health Review Tribunal; Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court (nation-wide); Coronial Inquests, Police Disciplinary Tribunals and Teachers Registration Board inquiries.
First admitted as a Solicitor and Barrister in New South Wales, and registered to practise at the High Court of Australia, Lyma became admitted in the Northern Territory, following a practice of over six-years as a Federal Prosecutor with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP). As a Federal Prosecutor, Lyma had conduct of a range of indictable and summary matters including transnational crimes (illegal foreign fisheries, crimes at sea, aviation offences, illegal importations and drug offences, Migration Act offences, and take evidence proceedings in Mutual Assistance matters), human exploitation offences (human trafficking, slavery, child sex exploitation) and corporations offences.
Earlier in her career, Lyma worked at the Federal Attorney-General’s Department, both in Criminal Justice Division, in the area of international transfer of prisoners, dealing with prisoner case work and bilateral treaties, and in Civil Justice Division (Human Rights Branch), scrutinising bills and providing legal and policy advice on domestic human rights and anti-discrimination matters, in the lead up to the 2009 federal National Consultation on Human Rights. Lyma also worked at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Office of the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions, and undertook an international clerkship in the litigation department of leading Singaporean law firm, Drew & Napier LLP.
Lyma is one of 45 nominated Australian women lawyers whose oral history is recorded in the national archives in the “Trailblazing Women Lawyers Project”, particularly for her work as International Civil Party Counsel at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (‘ECCC’ or Khmer Rouge Tribunal). Since 2009, Lyma has provided pro bono legal services for over 100 victims of the Khmer Rouge regime, including foreign nationals, members of the Cambodian diaspora world-wide, as well as ethnic minority victims in the Tribunal’s historical genocide case.
Lyma is a returned Australian Volunteer, where, in 2010, she took an assignment as International Criminal Law Advisor with Lawyers Beyond Borders under AVI, providing advice to national lawyers from Legal Aid of Cambodia on its work with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and its labour and human trafficking projects. In the ECCC jurisdiction, Lyma successfully appealed Civil Party admissibility decisions before the Pre-Trial Chamber and appeared as Counsel in pre-trial and trial proceedings, including at the examination of Kaing Guek Eav (alias Duch, convicted in Case 001), the Closing Statements in Case 002 and evidence proceedings in the trial segment involving the genocide of the ethnic Vietnamese minority victims she represents.
In 2013, she received the Prime Minister’s Executive Endeavour Award in recognition of her work in at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. One year later, Lyma was awarded the prestigious Churchill Fellowship with the aim to build expertise in the practice of international criminal justice by examining the operation of international courts and preparing victim representation in the genocide trial before the ECCC. At a specialised training course in ‘Advocacy and Litigation before International Courts and Tribunals’ organized by the Universiteit Leiden, The Hague, she was awarded the Best Advocate Award.
Since 2012, Lyma has been enlisted as a Law and Justice Civilian Expert on the register of the Australian Civilian Corps under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, where she has provided advice as a subject matter civilian expert in detention, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.
Lyma has worked in Cambodia, Singapore, Nigeria and East Timor, and has French and Vietnamese language skills.
She has guest-lectured at universities globally and presented extensively on genocide and victims representation in international courts, including at the Legal Eagles Criminal Law Conference (Luang Prabang, Laos, 2016 and Hoi An, Vietnam, 2015), the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law (ANZSIL) Conference, Canberra (2014); and CLANT Conference (Bali, 2013).
For more information about Lyma’s international practice, see www.civilparties.org .
EUDO CITIZENSHIP Research Network, Report on Citizenship Law: Vietnam (September 2017), Global Citizenship Observatory, European University Institute.
College of Law NT Practice Papers (editor, August 2016): Professional Conduct and Discipline (PR801), The Lawyer and Client Relationship (PR802); A Lawyer’s Relationship with the Court (PR803) and A Lawyer’s Relationship with the Public (PR804).
Macquarie Law Journal – Victim Participation and Minorities in Internationalised Criminal Trials: Ethnic Vietnamese Civil Parties at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, (2014) 14 MqLJ 97.
Lyma Nguyen and Christoph Sperfeldt, A Boat Without Anchors: Report on the Legal Status of Ethnic Vietnamese Minority Populations in Cambodia under Domestic and International Laws Governing Nationality and Statelessness, published by Jesuit Refugee Service Cambodia, 2012.
NT Law Journal – Representing Minority Victims in Genocide Trials, (2014) 2 NTLJ 363
Philosophy, critical thinking and debate; Creating Jewellery, artwork and poetry; Inventing Things; Film and Books; Performing and playing music in William Forster Chambers’ Band, “No Class Action”.
William Forster Chambers
26 Harry Chan Avenue
Darwin NT 0800
PO Box 4369
DARWIN NT 0801
Tel: + 61 (0)8 8982 4700
Fax: + 61 (0)8 8941 1541