Position Available

Head of Litigation and Defending Rights, Africa

What are we looking for?

Based on the intersecting crises, including environmental and climate, human rights abuses, patriarchy, race and inequality amongst others, Natural Justice is in a key phase to expand its work to stand behind more communities across Africa. Central to this is increasing our litigation capacity based on the increasing demand from a range of communities across Africa whose rights are being violated and their environment being destroyed.

Natural Justice seeks a Head of Litigation and Defending Rights. You will work across the organisation to lead the development and implementation of an ambitious, high-quality and impactful litigation strategy, working closely with lawyers and Community Environmental Legal Officers across the organisation. 

You will play a leading role in developing and implementing effective litigation strategies, develop relationship with key legal organisations and allies, set up the Africa Environmental Justice Lawyers Collective, provide support to environmental defenders and provide legal strategic input and advice to key cases that each of the Hubs are involved in.

You will work with a passionate team of lawyers and community environmental legal officers and legal fellows, campaign and communication officers, programme managers, Hub Directors, Director of Programmes and Development and the Executive.

The position will be responsible for developing and implementing a litigation strategy, contributing to ensuring Natural Justice effectively stands behind communities, increasing our litigation capacity, securing funding for cases, working with a collective of lawyers in Africa and with key environmental lawyer collectives globally.

How to Apply:

Applications should be submitted via email to Applications@naturaljustice.org with ‘Head of Litigation’ in the subject line.

Applications must include:

  1. A motivation letter that indicates: a) why you are interested in this position and what inspires you about environmental justice; and b) aspects of your background that demonstrate the required competence for this role;
  2. A detailed CV with three contactable references; and
  3. Two samples of your past written work (for example, articles or cases you were involved in).

Please ensure that your application, as a whole, speaks to the required qualifications, experience, personal profile and key roles and responsibilities. Please do not apply if you do not meet the required experience.

Deadline: 30 August 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Key Roles and Responsibilities

  • Strengthen litigation capability
  • Responsible for providing leadership of Natural Justice’s litigation work and linking with campaigns and communication teams, including contributing to research, policy, advocacy, media and popular mobilisation for all programmatic streams and public-facing campaigns. Ensure that Natural Justice maximises its impact through clear models of change, smart objectives and priorities, linking local to global, the optimal use of limited resources, and good collaboration with communities, partners and allies.
  • Develop a litigation strategy which fits within the broader Natural Justice strategy.  
  • Work closely with the three Hubs and country programmes and provide strategic legal support around specific cases.
  • Manage implementation of agreed plans in relation to litigation, including resource allocation, risk management and proactively identifying opportunities.
  • Further developing Natural Justice’s “litigation plus” approach.
  • Exploring opportunities for strategic litigation in Africa.
  • Programme Management: Defence
  • Contribute to the programme’s conceptual and strategic development.
  • Provide oversight regarding the direction in which the programme is heading, vis-à-vis the broader policy debate, and ensure it stays in tune with Natural Justice’s vision/mission.
  • Contribute to the development of the Defence stream strategy in line with the overall Natural Justice strategy. Contribute to the strategy processes of each of the Hubs.
  • Ensure the participation of Natural Justice in international and regional policy processes relevant to the stream, including submissions, participation in negotiations and facilitation of direct community participation. 
  • Remain up-to-date on current policy debate and involved in relevant online fora to ensure Natural Justice’s strategy remains innovative and Natural Justice’s work is distributed in relevant policy circles. 
  • Provide technical support and advice to Hub teams regarding relevant legal and policy reform at national level. 
  • Research, Knowledge Management and Thought Leadership    
  • Working closely with the Natural Justice team to ensure high quality legal research to back up the litigation.
  • Package research in a way that can be shared with communities, allies and other lawyers.
  • Archive all litigation-related materials in a way that is accessible to all staff and partners.  
  • Provide thought leadership in terms of environmental justice and indigenous and local community rights.
  • Networking and Communications
  • Work closely with environmental justice lawyers in Africa and globally.
  • Lead the initiative around the Africa Environmental Justice Lawyers Collective.
  • Identify and work closely with legal practitioners in Africa to ensure greater support and alignment in terms of key cases.  
  • Write blogs and other pieces, with the support of programme staff, and edit publications.
  • Organise and support special events and convenings linked to the mandate of litigation.  
  • Strengthening staff and partner capacity
  • Work with key staff members to increase skill and experience around litigation.
  • Work with partners and communities in support of their understanding and use of the law.
  • Work closely with the staff in countries to implement the overall and Hub strategies.
  • Support Hubs with their litigation and defence strategy and tactics.
  • Finance and Administration
  • Keep records of all expenditure and provide to the administration officer as directed and in a timely manner.
  • Fundraising
  • Provide input into the fundraising strategy. Develop concepts and work with the Management Team around the overall fundraising and, specifically, in terms of funding for litigation and broader defence stream work.
  • Oversight      
  • Supervise (in collaboration with Hub Directors) and guide the work of the litigation team across the organisation.
  • Reporting
  • Liaise with different stakeholders to prepare and consolidate reports to share with communities, partners, allies and donors.  
  • Travel
  • Ability to undertake frequent local travel, and international travel as required.
  • General         
  • Develop and maintain a very good knowledge of the role and policies of Natural Justice.
  • To represent Natural Justice in a positive, professional, and effective manner.
  • To attend, contribute actively and constructively at team and programme meetings.
  • To seek opportunities for personal and professional development, particularly related to the specific areas of responsibility.
  • Provide accurate and timely information on programme activities for reporting, compliance and fundraising purposes.
  • Complete any other duties that may be related to the organization’s overall mandate.

Selection Criteria

Minimum Academic Requirements:

Post graduate degree in law or equivalent.

Legal admission.


  • At least 8 years of demonstrated work expertise in environmental law, including natural resource and/or land law, and administrative law. 
  • Strong litigation experience.
  • Very good experience in working with marginalised communities.
  • Good experience communicating complex legal issues in an accessible way to communities.
  • Very good experience relating research or project experiences to policy advocacy.
  • Very good experience with conducting primary and/or desktop research and preparing clear and analytical reports.
  • Solid experience in fundraising.
  • Very good, demonstrated experience advocating for environmental justice.
  • Candidate should be able to work independently.
  • Excellent report writing experience.
  • Proven track record delivering strategic programmes that deploy policy and research, inside-track advocacy, media and digital campaigning to secure changes in policy and practice.
  • Demonstrated skills and experience in leading high-performing teams of advocates, including strong human resource management skills (preferably including distance management), facilitation and leadership in times of change.
  • Excellent analytical and strategic skills to determine and respond to fast-moving organisational, political, policy and media agendas, including the proven ability to “think on your feet” and present well under pressure.
  • Strong set of operational management skills, including experience in developing, monitoring and managing a large, complex budget and experience in reporting performance against plans to a range of audiences.
  • Good knowledge of pan-African and international politics and political processes.
  • Track record in process coordination in networks.
  • High people and process management skills, including mediation/arbitration.
  • Proven project design/management abilities.
  • Proven management ability.
  • Previous involvement in terms of litigation and management of teams across the continent.
  • Familiarity with policy development and campaigns working in an international context.
  • Excellent working knowledge across a wide range of development and human rights issues.

Knowledge and skills:

  • Fluency in English.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Proficiency in French is an added advantage, as a large part of the team are French speaking.
  • Strong experience and understanding of litigation, the law and its application.
  • Basic experience in supervising teams and/or staff.
  • Good exposure to working for development organisations; experience working in a project management set up is desirable.
  • Good experience leading an organisation or a unit within and organisation. This includes people management, resources and programmes. 
  • Very good programme management experience, including budgeting, project planning, contract drafting, monitoring and evaluations.
  • Public Relations and other forms of communication.
  • Demonstrated social media experience.
  • Strong ability to write for publications.
  • Experience of leading successful cases.      

Key Competencies

  • Very good ability to work with limited supervision on roles assigned.
  • Critically reviews, analyses, synthesises, compares and interprets information.
  • Do root-cause analysis to identify and resolve problems.
  • Takes initiative to go beyond the routine demands of the job.
  • Deadline driven.
  • Very good ability to work with team and to develop and maintain good relationships with community-based or other grassroots groups and partners.
  • Diligently checks work to ensure that all essential details have been considered.
  • Able to effectively negotiate and resolve issues either within or outside of the organisation.
  • Very good, demonstrated awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, genders, and orientations.
  • Works cooperatively with others to complete work assignments.
  • Empathy and respect for diverse views
  • Very good, demonstrable commitment to serving the public interest.

Closing Date

30 August 2021

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