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Call for applications: Funding of legal costs to be incurred in environmental public interest litigation in South African courts

6 February 2011 at 2:54 pm

The Environmental Defence Fund is a non-profit organisation established to advance environmental rights in South Africa and is associated with the Centre for Environmental Rights ( The Fund accepts and manages donations for the purpose of funding the work of the Centre for Environmental Rights and other public benefit organisations with similar or related objectives to that of the Centre.

On behalf of a public benefit trust dedicated to promoting environmental protection, the Environmental Defence Fund hereby calls for applications for funding of legal costs to be incurred in environmental public interest litigation in South African courts.

The narrative of the application should be no longer than 4 pages, but you are encouraged to attach photographs and media coverage that will assist us in understanding the issue and its public interest.

The application should have the following headings:

  1. Summary: a short paragraph summarising the particular case
  2. Area: geographical area to which the particular case relates
  3. Value: a short description of the environmental, heritage or other value that the proposed legal proceedings aim to protect
  4. Threat: a short description of the development, situation or threat that the proposed legal proceedings aim to stop or address, e.g. a 330-unit luxury golf course, an opencast coal mine
  5. Relief sought: a short statement on the relief sought in the proposed legal proceedings and the current status of the proceedings. Please also summarise efforts to address the problem prior to the institution of legal proceedings.
  6. Precedent: how the proposed legal proceedings will contribute to creating good legal precedent on environmental protection
  7. Benefits to the wider community: a description of the benefits the proposed legal proceedings would bring to the wider community.
  8. Prospects of success: a statement on prospects of success of the proceedings
  9. Legal teams: names of attorneys and counsel on brief for all parties to the legal proceedings (i.e. not just your own legal team)
  10. Other experts: names of any expert witnesses engaged by all parties to the legal proceedings (i.e. not just your own experts)
  11. Costs and funding to date: how much money has been spent to date, and how that has been funded (including donations received, as well as pro bono contributions)
  12. Funding requested: a detailed breakdown of funding requested, including estimated time and hourly rates of the legal team. Please also indicate whether hourly rates have been discounted or not.
  13. Prospects of cost recovery: a statement on the prospects of cost recovery (be specific as to the scale on which costs have been sought)

Please note that no funding will be awarded:

  • retrospectively, in other words for legal costs already incurred; or
  • to cases not yet ripe for hearing, for example where you seek funding for a review application, but an internal appeal decision is still pending.

Please also note that, generally speaking, no single grant will exceed R250 000. This amount may increase to R500 000 in extraordinary cases.

Closing date for applications: 21 February 2011

Applications must be submitted to [email protected]. Please use the following format for the subject heading of the email: EDF Call Feb 2011: NAME OF YOUR CASE.

Shortlisted applicants (and their attorneys) may be invited to give a presentation to a selection committee in Cape Town at their own expense. If you do not hear from us by 8 March 2011, you can assume that your application was not successful.