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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Environmental Law Specialist

Reference No: 5/2018

The closing date (27 August 2018) has passed and applications for this position are now closed.

The Centre for Environmental Rights is looking for a tech-savvy legal researcher with a nerdy passion for environmental law, environmental rights, accountability and justice. This is a dynamic role, and the successful candidate will work across the CER’s programmes, supporting our training work, our litigation, our legal advocacy, and for our strategic communications. The candidate will also track policy and law reform processes, liaise with Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, draft Parliamentary submissions and manage the legal content of CER’s website, particularly our Virtual Environmental Law Library.


Based in Cape Town or Johannesburg

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • An LLB or equivalent qualification. Candidates who have an LLM in environmental law will receive preference.
  • A detailed knowledge of environmental and administrative laws, and decision-making processes.
  • Strong legal research and analysis skills.
  • Excellent writing skills, with an eye for detail.
  • A sensitivity to social issues and the needs of communities impacted by polluting industries.
  • Strong networking skills and capabilities in building support amongst a wide range of stakeholders.
  • A passion for social and environmental justice.
  • A commitment to diversity, inclusion and transformation.

Key responsibilities

  • Legal research and drafting: Providing legal research support to all of the CER’s programmes and projects, and drafting opinions and submissions on proposed law reform as required;
  • Training: Providing legal content for the CER’s Activist Support and Training project; monitoring training opportunities for CER attorneys and staff;
  • Monitoring and knowledge dissemination:
    • monitoring the activities of key departments and agencies, including draft legislation, media releases, regulations & notices;
    • tracking law reform processes, and all new environmental law developments; and
    • keeping CER attorneys and relevant CER stakeholders informed in relation to these developments;
  • Parliamentary liaison: Liaising with Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, monitoring oversight meetings by Parliamentary Portfolio Committees relevant to CER’s work, and coordinating the CER’s attendance and input as appropriate;
  • Website and virtual Library: Maintaining the legal content of the CER’s website, including in particular the Virtual Library, and writing concise summaries on legal developments (including case law and legislation) for the CER’s stakeholders.


The salary range is R389 933 to R458 745 (total cost to company) and the salary offered will be dependent on factors that include the qualifications, level of expertise and experience of the successful candidate.

Working for the CER

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation and law clinic of environmental rights lawyers that helps communities defend their right to a healthy environment. We do this by advocating and litigating for environmental justice.

As South Africa’s largest public interest environmental law organisation, we leverage 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 fights – high-stakes cases where we can empower local communities, have an enduring impact, and 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 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: Biodiversity, Mining, Water, Pollution and Climate Change, and Corporate Accountability. We have our main office in Observatory, Cape Town, with a smaller office in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Staff who join our Johannesburg office are required to travel to our Cape Town office on a regular basis.

At CER, we value our staff and regard their wellbeing as a priority. We have a Staff Well-Being Policy that includes a Savings and Insurance Benefit for permanent staff. We are committed to a work environment that is an inclusive, empathetic space, and in which diversity is celebrated and supported.

How to apply

Please send the following documents to: [email protected] by 27 August 2018, with the email subject line: “CER Environmental Law Specialist”:

  • A cover letter setting out your skills and relevant experience, as well as why you want to work at the CER;
  • A copy of your CV;
  • Two recent written references.

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.