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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Reference No: 10/2021

The closing date (5 July 2021) has passed and applications for this position are now closed.

The Centre for Environmental Rights seeks to employ an attorney to join our Corporate Accountability and Transparency Programme. The successful candidate will join a team of lawyers who are challenging corporations and financial institutions, including development finance institutions, to improve transparency and implement policies and decisions to advance environmental and climate justice.

Using legal tools, including legal advocacy and research, the ideal candidate should be able to use and develop a wide range of skills to assist in developing innovative strategies to increase and amplify support for and pressure on corporations and financial institutions to reform their climate targets and ambition, ensure adherence to environmental, social and governance standards and meet local and international standards of best practice.

Based in Johannesburg or Cape Town, this position is for an admitted attorney with at least 2 years’ litigation experience, who has a passion for environmental justice, and the ability to use law, policy analysis, and research to challenge fossil fuel projects. An important requirement of this position is the ability to build and nurture relationships with communities impacted by polluting companies and proposed fossil fuel projects, as well as organisations and individuals that have the relevant scientific and economic expertise to inform our work.

CER is committed to diversity, inclusion and transformation and strives to reflect South Africa’s racial, cultural, sex and gender diversity within its staff complement. Candidates from historically disadvantaged or marginalised groups are strongly encouraged to apply for this post, and will be preferred.


Cape Town or Johannesburg

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • An LLB or equivalent qualification. An LLM, particularly in the field of business and human rights or environmental law would be an advantage. Additionally, experience in and understanding of company laws as well as a finance and investment background would be valuable in this role.
  • Admitted attorney with at least 2 year’s post-admission experience in the field of climate and environmental law or business and human rights and company law.
  • A sound knowledge of climate and environmental law and practice, or the field of business and human rights and corporate law, both in South Africa and globally.
  • Excellent writing skills with a perfectionist’s eye for detail.
  • Excellent public speaking and presentation skills, and an ability to think on your feet
  • A sensitivity to social issues and the experiences and needs of marginalised communities.
  • Excellent networking skills, and strong capabilities in building support amongst a wide range of stakeholders.
  • A commitment to high-quality client service.
  • A passion for social and environmental justice.
  • A commitment to diversity, inclusion, and transformation.

Key responsibilities

Key responsibilities of this position currently include the following (although we require flexibility from all our staff as our strategic imperatives change and develop over time):

  • Strategic litigation: Providing legal advice to and undertaking litigation for communities and civil society organisations in line with CER’s litigation strategy and priorities;
  • Legal advocacy: Advocacy and engagement with regulators, corporates, and other stakeholders that impact corporate accountability, in order to achieve strategic change and improved practice; providing expert input into draft environmental, social, governance and related policies and legislation, and making submissions in Parliament and in other key forums;
  • Strategic communications: Building the profile of the CER and its programmes by participating in communications plans, which include writing editorials and media releases, and giving media interviews;
  • Human resources: Mentoring, training, and overseeing the work of junior attorneys and candidate attorneys;
  • Networking and empowerment: Building, training, and supporting networks of partners and clients, including affected communities and community organisations.


The salary range for the position is between R378 188 to R511 666 (total cost to company). The salary offered will be dependent on factors that include the qualifications, level of expertise, and experience of the successful candidate. All new staff join our medical aid group scheme with Discovery Health, and the salary package includes a medical aid subsidy.

Working for the CER

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation and law clinic of activist lawyers who work with communities and civil society organisations in South Africa to realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice. We seek a just, equitable, compassionate society which is resilient, celebrates diversity, and respects the inter-dependence between people and the environment.

As South Africa’s largest public interest environmental law organisation, we use our expertise and commitment to fight for environmental justice and advance the right to a healthy environment for all. We take on the big environmental battles: cases in which we can empower local communities, have an enduring impact, set powerful precedents for other cases, and help improve policy and practice across the country.

Winning the legal case is only part of the battle. CER’s litigation work is strengthened by local training and empowerment, dedicated policy and advocacy work, and strategic communications. In all of our work, we work closely with partners in affected communities, with other civil society organisations in the environmental and social justice sector, and with other public interest law organisations.

We work across the following core themes: Mining, Water, Pollution and Climate Change, Corporate Accountability & Transparency, and Activist Support & Training. We have our main office in Observatory, Cape Town, with a smaller office in Johannesburg.

At CER, we value our staff and regard their wellbeing as a priority. We are committed to a work environment that is inclusive and empathetic, and in which diversity is celebrated and supported.

How to apply

Please send the following documents to: [email protected] with the email subject line: “CER Attorney, Ref no. 10/2021”:

  • A cover letter setting out your skills and relevant experience, and motivating why you want to work at the CER;
  • Your CV; and
  • Two recent written references not less than 6 months old.