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Clerk Programme for German Trainee Lawyers

Starting in 2008, a special post will also be created for German trainee lawyers to apply to the Court to work as a law clerk for a period of three months (though recommended is a minimum period of four months), starting each year in January and July. As the Court has no funds to pay salaries or travel expenses this post is ideal for referendare students seeking to fulfill their four month practical experience requirements. The post is not, however, limited to such candidates.

Applicants will need to be available for a minimum period of four months, although any applicants seeking a longer-term post will also be considered. The Court is only able to take one legal trainee each term. Successful applicants will participate in the two week orientation programme run by the Court for law clerks in order to provide the requisite training for the post. This training will include an introduction to relevant computer research tools such as Jutastat, Lexis Nexis and Westlaw, as well as an in-depth explanation of reference materials available in the Court Library

Roles and duties

Specific responsibilities may vary between chambers but include:


Trainee lawyers' workload varies during the year and will depend on the demands made by an individual judge. The working hours are flexible and chamber specific.

Skills and qualifications

Trainee lawyers are required to have the following skills:


Some training will be provided to new trainee lawyers by the Orientation Committee during the two week orientation period. A postgraduate degree (juristisches staatsexamen) is substitutable for the LLB degree or equivalent requirement

Benefits of participating in the programme 

German trainee lawyers taking part in the programme will achieve an extra qualification. Successful candidates will also have the benefit of taking part in the work of the Court and gain experience in a legal system based on human rights and democracy. It is also hoped that the programme will improve the co-operation and understanding between South Africa and Germany more broadly.

Eligibility and appointment

Applications for clerkships to this programme will be considered twice a year. Applications for the programme commencing in January, must be received by 31 July of the previous year; And for commencement in July applications must be received by 31 December of the previous year.

The application should indicate whether all judges, or a specific judge is being applied to, as well as and the period for which the applicants wish to be considered. Applicants must be in possession of an LLB (or equivalent) or in their final year of study for such degree and have an interest in subjects relating to constitutional law. Applications must also include, as a minimum:


Applications must be sent electronically to Mr Mosala Sello at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and his contact number is 011 359 7444

Failure to comply with these requirements will result in the application not being considered.

In addition to the application requirements, applicants for the programme must also demonstrate the ability to cover travel to and from Johannesburg and living expenses whilst working at the Court.

In some cases a judge may request that a telephone interview be held with the applicant.