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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Senior Climate Advocacy Lawyer

Reference No: 5/2021

The closing date (19 March 2021) has passed and applications for this position are now closed.

The Centre for Environmental Rights is looking for a Senior Climate Advocacy Lawyer to join our Pollution and Climate Change Programme. Ideally based in Cape Town, this position is for a qualified lawyer with at least 3 years’ experience working on climate and environmental law and policy, and who has a passion for environmental and climate justice. The successful candidate will have a particular interest in advocating for better climate and environmental laws and policy and improved implementation of laws, and facilitating networking and collaboration among relevant stakeholders and supporting activists.

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, but frequent travel to Cape Town will be required

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • An LLB or equivalent qualification. An LLM, particularly in climate, energy and/or environmental law, would be an advantage.
  • At least 3 years’ post-qualification experience in legal research and policy work in the field of climate and environmental law. Admission as attorney or advocate is not a requirement.
  • A sound knowledge of climate and environmental law and practice, 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):

  • Legal research and advocacy: Advocacy and engagement with legislators, regulators, corporates, and other stakeholders in climate law and policy, in order to achieve strategic change and improved practice; providing expert input into draft and promulgated climate legislation and policies and other environmental policies and legislation, and making submissions in Parliament and in other key forums;
  • Strategic communications: Building the profile of the CER and its campaigns and 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 R460 625 and R623 199 (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 Senior Climate Advocacy Lawyer”:

  • 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.