Senior Lawyer / Lawyer: Violence against Women

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The Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (“ISLA”) is based on the belief that strategic litigation is an immensely strong tool for social change because it helps to reframe the understanding of entitlements before the law and it challenges the legal discourse on women’s rights and sexual rights. ISLA seeks to use the rule of law and African domestic and regional courts to advance women’s human rights and sexual rights. It is the first Africa-based strategic litigation initiative with a regional focus and expertise on women’s human rights and sexual rights. This is achieved by building networks across the continent that work in strategic litigation.

ISLA seeks to appoint a lawyer or senior lawyer who will provide leadership in the Violence Against Women thematic area and provide thought leadership on litigation related work and contribute to the organisation strategy implementation. This person will work closely with other thematic lead lawyers, network managers and ISLA’s partners.

Report to: Acting Litigation Director

Salary: This position offers a competitive salary, from a scale of R700 000.00 to R800 000.00 per annum, (total cost to company, and commensurate with experience).

Strategic Litigation (70%)

  • Contribute to the development of tools and guidelines to institutionalise strategic litigation practices within the organisation
  • Research substantive issues of comparative and international human rights law and practice
  • Legal representation on cases before domestic, regional and international human rights fora
  • Manage and lead all phases of the case development plan; from the investigation, pleadings, and discovery through the pre-trial, trial, settlement, and appeal processes.
  • Identification of issues that are amenable to strategic litigation and using the law to defend human rights cases
  • Contribute to the development of feminist jurisprudence

Partnerships and Collaborations (10%):

  • Contribute to the development of the case sourcing database and referral mechanisms
  • Identify opportunities to develop and implement legal mobilisation

Knowledge Production (10%):

  • Lead and provide guidance in the development of litigation related publications
  • Contribute to the litigation communications strategy implementation

Strengthening Capacity (10%):

  • Contribute to the institutional strengthening activities for network partners
  • Facilitating capacity strengthening workshops on international human rights law, and practice

About the person: This position will be suited to an individual who meets the following criteria:


  • A legal degree and is admitted to legal practice in any African country
  • Have an advanced degree in human rights, gender or other relevant subjects


  • Have supervisory or management experience;
  • Have experience in coordinating and managing projects and demonstrate evidence of being a self-driven, resourceful person who is able to manage and coordinate teamwork well;
  • Have experience in contributing to the overall strategic planning of an organisation; and
  • Exhibit the highest standards of excellence and integrity, and display, at all times and to all persons, a courteous, professional and cooperative attitude.


  • An ability to make a strategic and dynamic approach to the use of law as a tool for the promotion of human rights and can demonstrate this;
  • A good command of the English language
  • Strong research capacity and exceptional writing skills;
  • A keen analytical ability;
  • Meticulous attention to detail;
  • Substantial experience using constitutional, regional and international human rights law, with preference to candidates who have had such experience in litigation;
  • An in-depth or sophisticated understanding of international and comparative human rights mechanisms, and institutions;
  • Knowledge and understanding of women’s human rights and feminist analysis;
  • Fundraising experience, including demonstrated ability to cultivate relationships with individual donors, this will be beneficial

Other Essentials Specific to the Job:

  • Able and willing to travel occasionally within and out of South Africa.
  • Commitment to the overall aims and values of ISLA, feminism and Pan Africanism
  • Expectation of occasional work outside regular weekday hours, as required to do the job.

Preference will be given to qualifying women applicants

To apply for the position, click this link here:  to complete an application form. ISLA’s job application form replaces the need to submit a CV as we prefer to have standardised information provided by all candidates. Upon submission, the applications will be received by the ISLA recruitment team for selection. Only shortlisted candidates will receive feedback on their application with further requirements. Late applications will not be considered.

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