The Justices of the Constitutional Court of South Africa are pleased to invite applications from outstanding recent law graduates and young lawyers interested in serving as foreign law clerks. Candidates may be appointed to start as soon as 1 July 2014.
South Africa continues to be regarded as one of the most intriguing and compelling examples of constitutionalism in the transition to democracy. Its Constitution is viewed as one of the world’s most progressive founding charters.
The Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court, is the guardian of that promise. It has, in a range of ground-breaking decisions, given content to the Constitution’s guarantees by, for instance, ruling the death penalty unconstitutional; upholding full equality for gay and lesbian people; declaring that resident non-citizens are entitled to social benefits; and ordering the government to make anti-retroviral treatment available to pregnant mothers living with HIV/AIDS.
A highly respected commentator, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court, stated the following in the context of a discussion of new democracies:
“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a Constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary. . . . It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done.”
About the Position of a Foreign Law Clerk
Each year, six to ten young lawyers from around the world serve as foreign law clerks to the Constitutional Court. Working alongside two South African law clerks, foreign law clerks assist a specific judge in performing his or her duties.
The responsibilities of foreign law clerks are essentially the same as those of their South African counterparts and similar to judicial clerks elsewhere in the common law world. These include extensive legal research and writing, as well as the formulation, drafting, and editing of judgments. The Court itself is highly collaborative, allowing for substantial engagement among clerks from all Chambers.
Foreign clerks are generally appointed to serve one six-month term. Some may, however, serve for longer and sometimes in more than one Chambers.
Foreign law clerks are not remunerated by the Court. So, it is essential that they seek their own funding to cover their expenses, including food, accommodation, travel to South Africa, visas and travel to and from work.
Further details on the programme may be found on the Constitutional Court website: www.constitutionalcourt.org.za
Applicants requiring additional information, or wishing to confirm receipt of their application, may also contact Mr Mr Mosala Sello in the Chambers of Justice Johann van der Westhuizen via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or telephone (+27 11 359 7427).