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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Water Lawyer and Campaigner

Reference No: CER 1/2016

The closing date (15 February 2016) has passed and applications for this position are now closed.

This is a readvertisement of Ref No. CER 2/2015, first advertised on our website on 8 October 2015.

The Centre for Environmental Rights is starting a new project aimed at securing the long-term legal protection and integrity of South Africa’s strategic water source areas, and we are looking for a legal campaigner to lead this new two-year project. This position is for a lawyer with a passion for the protection of South Africa’s precious water resources, for environmental rights and justice, and who has a particular interest in water law, biodiversity and conservation law, and mining law.

The CER is based in Cape Town. While we occasionally allow staff to work from other locations where it appropriate or necessary for a particular project, we always require new staff to spend significant periods of time in our office in Cape Town, particularly at the start of any new appointment and/or project.

The Centre for Environmental Rights strives to reflect South Africa’s racial, cultural and gender diversity within its staff complement. All suitably qualified candidates are encouraged to apply.


Based in Cape Town

Qualifications, skills and experience

  • An LLB or equivalent qualification, and we prefer candidates with an LLM – preferably in environmental or water law, but it is not a requirement for this position and we will consider applications from candidates with other relevant further qualifications.
  • Knowledge of the imperatives for the protection of our water resources, threatened ecosystems, as well as those applicable to mining.
  • Understanding of legal and procedural requirements for environmental decision-making and legal challenges around water matters, protected areas and mining.
  • Demonstrable experience in legal and public interest campaigning.
  • Excellent networking skills, and strong capabilities in building support amongst a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Excellent strategic planning and project management skills.
  • A commitment to high quality client service, and a passion for social and environmental justice.

Key responsibilities

  • Leading the Centre’s work towards securing the long-term legal protection and integrity of South Africa’s strategic water source areas through a broad legal advocacy strategy.
  • Conducting a review of legal mechanisms available to provide legal protection for strategic water source areas.
  • Convening an advisory group of scientific and legal experts on strategic water source areas, and networking with civil society and community organisations and networks to build stakeholder support for a legal advocacy strategy.
  • Developing and implementing a strategic communication and engagement strategy to support the use of appropriate legal mechanisms.
  • Providing hands-on expert legal advice, support and representation to the Centre’s clients, including communities and civil society organisations, on water resource protection.
  • Providing expert input into draft environmental and water policies and legislation.
  • Facilitating the upload of available resources onto the Centre’s Virtual Environmental Law Library and other news items on our website and social media.
  • Training, mentoring and overseeing the work of candidate attorneys and legal interns, where required.
  • Monitoring and evaluation, and recording and sharing learning for systemic change.


The salary offered will be dependent on the level of experience of the successful candidate.