Irene de Vos, senior legal researcher and general counsel at SERI, and Dennis Webster, researcher at SERI, have written an article in the Business Day addressing non-compliance with court orders and the rule of law in South Africa.

The media and civil society paid a great deal of attention to these issues in the wake of President Omar al-Bashir leaving South Africa earlier this year despite the Pretoria High Court having ordered that all measures be taken to prevent him leaving. de Vos and Webster argue that while the strong response to the failure to comply with this court order was understandable, non-compliance with court orders is felt more intensely by poor communities struggling to secure their basic rights every day.

These communities get little of the media attention given to the potential arrest of a head of state, and yet governmental failure to obey court orders that affect them has devastating consequences and speaks much more directly to the threat facing the rule of law in SA.

  • Read the full article here.

PILSNewsSERI will be launching a new research report at a panel at the Public Interest Law Gathering, which begins this evening. The panel, entitled "The Public Interest Legal Services Sector: Perspectives on Impact, Collaboration and Funding for Social Change", takes place on Thursday at 11h00.

The report is entitled "Public Interest Legal Services in South Africa: Project Report".The funding for the report was generously provided by the RAITH Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

The report sets out a body of evidence which aims to form the basis for engagement within the public interest legal service sector, and between the sector and the donors which support it. The report proposes a multidimensional approach to characterising the value of public interest legal services – one which focusses on issues and the way that they are framed, and which tries to account for both the direct and indirect material impact as well as the broader political and symbolic value of particular interventions. The report also address the ways in which people and organisations within the public interest legal services sector work together, and what donors should do, should not do, and can do better, to facilitate co-ordination and collaboration that is appropriate to existing needs and practices. Finally the report identifies the unacceptably high cost of legal services as a major obstacle to the public interest legal services sector’s capacity to facilitate access to justice.

  • Download a summary of the report's key findings here.
  • Download the full report here.

SERI attorney Bhavna Ramji has written in response to a letter published in the Business Day last week.

The initial letter discusses the events that have led up to two applications in the Constitutional Court against cost orders granted against CSAAWU in the Labour Court. SERI represents the union in these matters.

The initial letter thoroughly misrepresents the facts of the case, and reveals serious biases by confusing the role that the union played in the strike which is at the heart of the legal proceedings. Ramji sets the record straight while drawing attention to the more perverse structural issues at play in this case.

  • Read Ramji's reponse here.
  • Read the initial letter here.
  • Read more on the cases here and here.
The Public Interest Law Gathering (PILG) will be held on the 23 and 24 July 2015 at the School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand.
The final programme for the event is now available.
The event brings together public interest legal practitioners and organisations, law students, paralegals, social movement leaders and legal academics with the aim of serving as a focal point for professionals in the field to share and develop knowledge.
Focusing on public interest litigation, the gathering is a collaborative knowledge-sharing exercise, as well as an opportunity to promote networking in the public interest community. The event will facilitate greater collaboration within human rights and public interest litigation oriented organisations and to increase the skills of persons working in such organisations.
SERI organises PILG together with other public interet organisations from around South Africa.
  • Download the final programme here.

SERI is looking to fill two vacancies for candidate attorneys, beginning 11 January 2016.

Candidate attorneys are recruited for a fixed-term of two years, leading to qualification and admission as an Attorney.

If you are interested in this post, please send a CV, together with a covering letter to Sanele Garane at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In your covering letter, please specify why you’re interested in this post. Please also provide a detailed explanation of why you are interested in working for SERI, and what qualities and experience you would bring to the post.

The closing date for applications is Friday 31 July 2015. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted, and will be expected to make themselves available for interview in August 2015.

  • Read the full job advertisement here.

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