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Court law clerks

The Constitutional Court in 1995 became the first court in South Africa to assign law clerks to assist each of its judges. Law clerks are appointed to work for a specific judge. The law clerk’s primary responsibility is to assist the judge in fulfilling his or her duties.
Each judge has two South African law clerks, paid for by the State, and may in addition have a foreign law clerk, who is self-funded.
Although South African and foreign clerks’ responsibilities are basically identical, different conditions apply to their appointment. 

Roles and duties
Specific responsibilities may vary between chambers, but include: 


Law clerks’ workload varies during the year and depends on individual judges. The working hours are flexible and chamber-specific but are usually long. 

Skills
Law clerks are required to have the following skills: 

Training and a two-week orientation are provided to new clerks by the Court’s Orientation Committee. 

How clerks are appointed
South African clerks are appointed for one year. Foreign law clerks (except those who are part of the German trainee lawyer programme)are appointed for a minimum of six months. Occasionally foreign clerks may be appointed for a year, and may after six months move from one chambers to another. 

Appointments of South African clerks are ordinarily made in May of the preceding year for appointment as a law clerk for the following January to December or or July to June. All applications for South African clerks must be received by no later than 31 March. 

Foreign clerk applications are considered on a rolling basis. However, many appointments of foreign clerks are also made in May for January to June or July to December of the following year or later. 

Though there is no firm cut-off, foreign applicants should preferably also submit applications by 31 March of each year. It is advisable to apply well in advance of the desired start date. 

Because the judges have specific requirements and because they work so closely with their law clerks, appointments are made, where possible, after one-on-one interviews either in person. 

Your application should indicate the period or periods for which the applicant wishes to be considered. Applicants must have an LLB (or equivalent) or be in their final year of study. Applications must also include: 

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

South African applications may be submitted by hand, post or electronically to: 

The Registrar of the Constitutional Court
Constitution Hill
1 Hospital Street
Private Bag X1
Braamfontein
2017 

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

No applications should be directed to the Court manager or any other staff member directly. 

Tel: +27 11 359 7460 

Foreign applicants should email their applications to Mrs Elizabeth Moloto at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Tel: +27 11 359 7444 

More information on the foreign clerkship position is available here . 

Place of employment
Law clerks perform their duties at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg. On occasion the judges may require them to attend to work-related tasks elsewhere. 

Remuneration and benefits
South African law clerks receive a uniform salary of about R300 000 a year. No further benefits are included. Parking is provided at the Court subject to a nominal monthly tariff. Parking is provided at the Court subject to a nominal monthly tariff. 

Foreign law clerks are not remunerated. They have to seek their own funding to cover all their expenses, including food, accommodation, travel to South Africa, visas, private telephone calls at the Court and travel to and from work. 

Benefits of being a law clerk
Being a law clerk offers opportunities to enhance personal and professional development and improve research, writing and people skills, while contributing to the development of constitutional principles and decision-making. 

See interviews with former clerks for an account of their experiences at the Court. 

South African law clerks also have the added benefit of becoming eligible to apply for either or both of the Court's scholarships