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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Reference No: 7/2021

The closing date (4 June 2021) has passed and applications for this position are now closed.

The Centre for Environmental Rights seeks to employ an experienced attorney to challenge the proliferation of gas production and consumption in South Africa and to advance the just transition from climate destructive fossil fuels to clean energy solutions.

The successful candidate will join a team of lawyers working to advance the just transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy solutions. They will work with non-governmental organisations and communities to oppose the development of gas power and related infrastructure in South Africa.

Ideally based in Cape Town, this position is for an admitted attorney with at least 3 years’ post qualification experience working on energy and environmental law and policy, and who has a passion for environmental and climate justice. The successful candidate will have a particular interest in using the law to challenge fossil fuel projects as well as an interest in energy law and policy, and finance and procurement structures along the gas value chain.

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.
  • Admitted attorney with at least 3 years’ post-qualification experience in the field of climate, energy and environmental law.
  • A sound knowledge of the gas sector as well as energy, 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):

  • Strategic litigation: Providing legal advice to and undertaking litigation for communities and civil society organisations in line with CER’s litigation strategy and priorities;
  • Legal advocacy: Advocacy and engagement with regulators, corporates, and other stakeholders that impact corporate accountability, in order to achieve strategic change and improved practice; providing expert input into draft environmental, social, governance and related policies and legislation, and making submissions in Parliament and in other key forums;
  • Strategic communications: Building the profile of the CER and its 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 R464 417 to R628 329 (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 Attorney (7/2021)”:

  • 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.