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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Wildlife Attorney

Reference No: CER 1/2015

The closing date (7 November 2015) has passed and applications for this position are now closed.

The Centre for Environmental Rights is now recruiting for an attorney to lead its Wildlife Desk, a one-year pilot project with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, funded by the National Lotteries Commission, aimed at promoting protection of indigenous species by using the law. The ideal candidate is an admitted attorney with a passion for biodiversity and conservation, social and environmental justice, accountability and compliance.

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 law, but it is not a requirement for this position and we will consider applications from candidates with other relevant further qualifications.
  • Admission as attorney of the High Court of South Africa, plus at least two years’ post-qualification experience in legal practice, including High Court litigation, particularly Constitutional, administrative law and/or environmental law.
  • Experience in biodiversity law would be a definite advantage.
  • A sound understanding of legal and procedural requirements for environmental decision-making and legal challenges, as well as of criminal proceedings (particularly in a wildlife context).
  • Excellent networking skills, and strong capabilities in building support amongst a wide range of stakeholders.
  • A commitment to high quality client service, and a passion for social and environmental justice.

Key responsibilities

  • Providing hands-on expert legal advice, support and representation to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and other public interest and community organisations affected by and concerned with poor biodiversity decision-making and violations of biodiversity laws.
  • Leading litigation on behalf of the Centre’s clients, including researching, writing and filing pleadings, motions, briefs, and other court documents, aimed at promoting the quality of decision-making on biodiversity, and enforcement of compliance with biodiversity laws and permits.
  • Providing legal support for advocacy around improved implementation of biodiversity laws, including providing expert input into draft 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.
  • Recording and sharing learning for systemic change.
  • Tracking opportunities for fundraising for continuation of the project.


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