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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Call for Applications: Legal Interns for 2012

29 November 2011 at 9:32 pm

Christine Reddell and Junaid Francis, interns in 2011

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a dynamic non-profit organisation and law clinic based in Observatory, Cape Town. The Centre’s mission is to advance environmental rights in South Africa, and its vision is civil society participation in environmental governance that is stronger, more streamlined, and better legally and scientifically equipped. To achieve this, the Centre strives to be a centre of excellence in environmental law, and supports and represents civil society organisations and communities who wish to participate in environmental decision-making processes or who want to act to protect their environmental rights, and provides environmental legal information, advice and representation to civil society.

In 2012, the Centre would like to employ two legal interns, and hereby calls for applications by suitably qualified and experienced candidates to take up an internship contract with the Centre in 2012. Legal interns work closely with the attorneys at the Centre, and play an integral role in the Centre’s work and operations.

Qualifications, skills and experience:

  • An LLB or equivalent tertiary qualification
  • Candidates must be currently enrolled or have completed an LLM in Environmental Law
  • A sound understanding of legal and procedural requirements for environmental decision-making and legal challenges
  • A good knowledge of recent environmental case law and recent legal developments
  • An ability to work independently, without constant supervision, and to take initiative
  • An ability to work effectively and creatively with limited resources
  • Excellent writing and legal drafting skills
  • Work experience in a legal practice or not for profit organisation, as well as experience working with communities and community organisations will be an advantage
  • A sensitivity to social issues and needs
  • A commitment to high quality client service

Key responsibilities:

The two legal interns will specifically work on two of the Centre’s ongoing projects, namely:

  • Transparency in Environmental Governance and Management; and
  • Promoting Environmental Compliance, Transparency and Accountability in Mining.

The legal interns will also generally:

  • support the Executive Director and staff attorneys in the legal and administrative operations at the Centre;
  • conduct legal research and drafting legal opinions;
  • do site visits and investigations;
  • report non-compliance to authorities and track enforcement action;
  • assist the CER in preparing court applications and court actions;
  • populate and maintain the CER’s website, particularly its Virtual Environmental Law Library; and
  • assist with fundraising.

Commencement date, working hours and duration: Contracts with legal interns will commence as soon as possible after 9 January 2012. Exact working hours and remuneration will be negotiated with the successful candidates, but will allow for ongoing post-graduate study. Note that only candidates able to work until at least 30 November 2012 should apply.

Closing dates and interviews: For the first round of applications, the closing date is 7 December 2011, with interviews taking place between 9 and 13 December 2011. If we still have a vacancy after this first round, we will have a second round of applications with closing date 11 January 2012, with interviews taking place between 13 and 17 January 2012.

Applications: To apply, please send a cover letter motivating why you have the necessary passion, qualifications, skills and experience for this position, as well as a short CV, to [email protected]. In your cover letter, please indicate:

  • your existing commitments for 2012, if any (particularly study obligations);
  • your availability for interviews between 9 and 13 December 2011, and again between 13 and 17 January 2012; and
  • full contact details during December 2011 and January 2012.

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.

Comments by past interns:

  • It was an immense privilege to have the opportunity to volunteer at the Centre. The kinds of matters that are being challenged by the Centre, the talent and passion with which they are pursued, and the creativity and commitment of its leaders has been both encouraging and exciting. I am grateful to have played a small part in this work and have gained immensely through the legal insight and practical training I received there.” Olivia Rumble, volunteer legal intern in 2010
  • The CER has provided me with an opportunity to expand my skills base. I have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to work with excellent professionals and learn as much as I can.” Junaid Francis, environmental management intern and project officer in 2011
  • Working at the CER was an incredible learning experience. Gaining practical experience in matters related to my university course work completely enriched my university learning. The CER is an immensely important organisation that is fulfilling a crucial role in civil society. I feel very privileged to have been a part of the CER and I will continue to follow their work and experiences with a keen interest.” Christine Reddell, legal intern in 2011