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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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The Centre is running a pilot Environmental Rights Clinic in April and May 2011

25 March 2011 at 1:48 pm

In April and May 2011, the Centre for Environmental Rights will run a pilot Environmental Rights Clinic, providing free environmental legal advice to communities, community organisations and non-government organisations that are not in a position to afford private legal advice.

The Centre for Environmental Rights was established to provide legal and related support to communities, community-based organisations and donor-funded non-government public benefit organisations that seek to exercise and defend environmental rights. As the Centre’s profile has grown, it has become increasingly difficult for us to manage the floods of emails and calls for advice. In order to structure these calls for assistance that we would very much like to meet, we have decided to run a trial Environmental Rights Clinic during April and May 2011. After this period, we will assess our impact and clients’ response, and then decide whether we should make the Clinic a permanent, regular feature of the Centre.

In our experience, often what is most needed is one consultation with a qualified attorney to give basic advice on applicable legislation, and identifying and recommending options for further action. The aim of the Clinic is to provide this one consultation, and to empower Clinic clients to undertake such further action on their own as far as possible. However, where we come across a case that is important and has precedent-setting potential, and complies with all of our Case Selection Criteria, we may consider formally taking on the case as attorneys of record.

The following rules apply to this Pilot Clinic:

  1. The Pilot Environmental Rights Clinic will be run by at least one qualified Centre attorney.
  2. Consultations will take place on 8 April, 15 April and 6 May 2011. Consultation sessions will last a maximum of 90 minutes, and will start at the following times: 9:30, 11:00, 13:30 and 15:00.
  3. Consultations can take place at the Centre’s offices in Observatory, or by telephone.
  4. Generally speaking, you can attend a Clinic appointment on a once-off basis, but follow-up appointments may be scheduled if we deem it to be essential.
  5. In accordance with Law Society requirements, and as read with our Case Selection Criteria, the person or organisation requesting advice may not able to:
    1. afford to engage the services of private environmental attorneys; or
    2. reasonably access the resources required to engage such services (this last requirement particularly applies to non-government organisations).
  6. The request for advice must relate to matters of environmental concern and the advancement of the right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being including participation in environmental decision-making, illegal activities causing degradation to the environment, protection of sensitive ecosystems and species.

If you would like to participate in this Clinic and think that you comply with the requirements set out above, please complete and email us the Appointment Request Form.