Saturday 24 February

Joint Media Advisory: Public Interest Law Centres in court on 18 and 19 October as amici curiae to defend public interest litigation

17 October 2022, Johannesburg – Six Public Interest Law Centres (PILCs) will intervene as amici curiae in the matter between Endangered Wildlife Trust, Federation for a Sustainable Environment and Director General, Department of Water and Sanitation and Atha Africa Ventures. The matter will be heard in the High Court of South Africa Gauteng Division, Pretoria, on 18 and 19 October 2022. The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) represents the Endangered Wildlife Trust in the main appeal.

The Legal Resources Centre, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, SECTION27, Equal Education Law Centre, Ndifuna Ukwazi, and the Centre for Child Law, will defend the use of multiple strategies including public interest litigation, advocacy and research and highlight their role in transformative constitutionalism.

On 7 July 2021, the High Court admitted all six PILCs as amici curiae.

In the court hearing scheduled for 18 and 19 October, the amici curiae will focus on statements made by Atha Africa Venture against CER. Atha Africa argued that CER was conflicted because it “professed to be an attorney of record but with a clear, direct and substantial interest in the proceedings both before the Water Tribunal and before the Court”. Atha Africa initially sought punitive costs against CER.

The PILCs will submit that when public interest law centres use strategic litigation and other tools to achieve social justice in their own interests and those of their clients, this does not constitute a conflict of interest and is an approach that is legitimate in the context of South Africa’s transformative constitutionalism.

Details:

Date: 18 and 19 October 2022

Time: 10:00AM

Venue: High Court of South Africa Gauteng Division, Pretoria

For media enquiries, contact:

The Legal Resources Centre – Thabo Ramphobole | Thabo@lrc.org.za | 068 584 2442

Centre for Applied Legal Studies – Lee-Anne Bruce | LeeAnne.Bruce@wits.ac.za

SECTION27 – Patience Phiri | phiri@section27.org.za | 072 992 8380

Equal Education Law Centre – Anele Gcwabe | 071 143 6608

Ndifuna Ukwazi – Zacharia Mashele | zacharia@nu.org.za


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