Member Profiles

Contact Details

Lyma Nguyen

William Forster Chambers

Level 1
26 Harry Chan Avenue

PO Box 4369

Tel: 08 8982 4700
Fax: 08 8941 1541

Practice Details

Admitted to the Supreme Court:
Signed the Bar Roll:

Lyma Nguyen

First Admission

2007, New South Wales

Other Jurisdictions

Northern Territory

High Court of Australia and Federal Courts

Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia 

Areas of Practice

Prosecuting and defending criminal cases (Indictable, simple and regulatory offences in summary and Supreme Courts), Transnational Criminal Law, International criminal and human rights law, Immigration, Refugee Law and Statelessness, Public International Law, Maritime Law, Domestic human rights and anti-discrimination (including bullying, harassment and adverse action), Administrative and Public Law, Judicial reviews of government decisions, Extradition, Mutual Assistance and International Transfer of Prisoners, Police disciplinary matters, Commissions of Inquiries, Corporate crimes, Victims of Crime Compensation, Personal Violence Orders, Mental Health Review Tribunal, Torts (trespass, negligence)


  • 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

  • Member, Northern Territory Bar Council (2014)
  • NT Bar Association representative on Law Council of Australia’s Rule of Law Network (2015)
  • Vice-President, Criminal Law Association of the Northern Territory (2015)
  • Director, Australian Volunteers International (honorary role, 2014).
  • ‘Trailblazing Woman Lawyer’ (one of 45 selected participants in oral history project, 2014)
  • Churchill Fellowship Recipient (2014/2015)
  • Australian Prime Minister’s Executive Endeavour Award (2013)
  • Law and Justice Civilian Expert, Australian Civilian Corps (2012)
  • Returned Australian Volunteer: Assignment with Lawyers Beyond Borders (AVI) in Cambodia (2010/2011)
  • Practising International Victims Counsel at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (since 2009)


Lyma is an advocate practising both domestically and internationally in the areas of criminal law, migration and refugee law, human rights, anti-discrimination, mental health review, administrative and public law including appeals, judicial reviews and quasi-judicial disciplinary inquiries.  Her Commonwealth practice has involved representing clients in the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court as well as representing a number of asylum seekers with High Court litigation connected with lead case, M68 v Commonwealth.

Lyma has appeared in civil appeals and special cases stated before the Supreme Court.  As a trial advocate both in Australia and abroad, Lyma accepts briefs in Commonwealth and Northern Territory criminal cases as well as briefs to advise across criminal and civil jurisdictions.

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 at the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. Lyma’s work at the CDPP in Head Office involved victims of crime and offences of human exploitation (human trafficking, slavery, child sex exploitation). As a Federal Prosecutor in Darwin, she appeared in range of indictable and summary matters including transnational crimes (illegal foreign fisheries, crimes at sea, aviation offences, illegal importations and drug offences, offences under the Migration Act 1958, and take evidence proceedings in Mutual Assistance matters); and white collar crimes including Corporations fraud and fraud against the Commonwealth.

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, specifically during the 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.

International Practice

Lyma is one of 45 Australian women lawyers selected to participate 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 to over 100 victims of the Khmer Rouge regime, including foreign nationals and members of the Cambodian diaspora from Australia, New Zealand and the United States, as well as ethnic minority victims the subject of genocide charges against the Senior Leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime.

In 2010, she took an assignment as International Criminal Law Advisor with Lawyers Beyond Borders under the auspices of Australian Volunteers International where she provided advice to Legal Aid of Cambodia on its work with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and its labour and human trafficking casework.  In this jurisdiction, Lyma successfully appealed Civil Party admissibility decisions before the ECCC’s Pre-Trial Chamber and appeared as Counsel in pre-trial and trial proceedings, including the examination of Kaing Guek Eav (alias Duch, convicted in Case 001), at 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, for rapid deployment to fragile or post-conflict situations. In this capacity, 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 (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


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


Personal Interests

Philosophy, physics, critical thinking and debate, playing guitar, music, movies, poetry, arts and crafts.

Areas of Practice
  • Consumer Protection Law (Commercial)
  • Contractual Disputes (Commercial)
  • Public/Administrative
  • Civil and Human Rights (Public/Administrative)
  • Constitutional Law (Public/Administrative)
  • Discrimination (Public/Administrative)
  • Extradition (Public/Administrative)
  • Immigration Law (Public/Administrative)
  • Judicial Review and administrative law (Public/Administrative)
  • Criminal
  • Crimes against the person (Criminal)
  • Drugs (Criminal)
  • Environmental and Planning Offences (Criminal)
  • Extradition (Criminal)
  • Fraud (Criminal)
  • Juvenile Justice (Criminal)
  • Mental Illness (Criminal)
  • Proceeds of Crime/Money Laundering (Criminal)
  • Property Offences (Criminal)
  • Sexual Assault (Criminal)
  • White Collar and Corporate Crime (Criminal)
  • Criminal Appeals (Appellate)
  • Discrimination (Industrial/Employment)
  • Environment and Planning
  • Environmental and Planning Offences (Environment and Planning)
  • Inquests/Inquiries
  • Commisssions and other inquiries (Inquests/Inquiries)
  • Coronial Inquests (Inquests/Inquiries)
  • Defamation
  • International Law
  • Choice of Law (International Law)
  • Public International Law (International Law)