Turkish lawyer Elif Goksen has been announced as the winner of the International Bar Association (IBA) Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2019. The IBA says Ms Goksen aims to improve access to justice and act as a voice for individuals who have been mistreated, marginalised or excluded.
According to her nominator, Ms Goksen is a lawyer determined to “leave an impact on younger generations and stand for human rights and the rule of law”. In 2014 Ms Goksen wrote a thesis on the value of digital data in criminal procedural law, during a time when there were many politically motivated criminal cases in Turkey that relied on electronic evidence, the credibility of which could not be verified. It was among the first written pieces on digital evidence in Turkish Criminal Procedure Law.
In January 2014, Ms Goksen was recruited by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to work as a Refugee Status Determination Assistant and later on as an Associate since January 2015. She was assigned to complex files and delivered training sessions on refugee status determination. Ms Goksen is currently undertaking an academic research project into the intersection of proportionality and individual criminal responsibility in refugee exclusion.
“Every generation of lawyers has the potential to be a powerful force for change. Elif Goksen’s determination to push the boundaries of current research and to influence future legislation is nothing short of inspirational. She is a prime example of an outstanding young lawyer and I am certain that others will follow her lead,” says IBA President, Horacio Bernardes Neto.
The IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award will be presented to Ms Goksen on 26 September during the IBA Annual Conference in Seoul, South Korea.
The IBA award follows recognition for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights and the Pro Bono Award.