HOME 2019-11-11T17:16:32+00:00


We offer professional services to our clients who come from civil society, the public and private sector and who, like us, strive to create a more equitable and just society.


Our work focuses broadly on human rights law, rule of law and social justice and includes:

  • strategic advice on rights advocacy and public interest litigation

  • legislation, policy development and preparation

  • legal drafting and advice

  • NGO governance including set up advice and assistance

  • research and analysis

  • monitoring and evaluation

  • strategic planning, organisational development and evaluation

  • leadership development and mentorship

  • mediation, facilitation and conflict resolution

  • Imparting story-telling and writing skills


  • Asylum and migration

  • Gender rights, gender equality and empowerment

  • Land and housing

  • Pro bono and access to justice

  • Protection of human rights defenders


We have worked on the following projects:

  • Assisting in the organisation of the 2019 annual regional conference for the Africa Chapter of the International Association of Refugee and Migration Judges (IARMJ);

  • Organising a Roundtable on Strategic Litigation on Refugee and Migrant Rights in Africa, prior to the 2019 conference of the IARMJ co-hosted with the International Commission of Jurists;

  • Providing strategic support to community property associations and rural land trusts to develop governance and accountability structures and access economic opportunities;

  • Supporting the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network to establish the Ubuntu Hub City Initiative designed to support human rights defenders from the region;

  • Supporting individual clients in a number of labour and gender related cases;

  • Writing media articles on sexual harassment in the workplace;

  • Providing expert opinions to United Kingdom and Canadian courts on refugee protection issues.

  • Assisting a SADC law body to create of a pro bono network in the region;

  • Undertaking a mapping exercise on what professional legal bodies are doing to promote the rights of women in the legal profession;

  • Designing and facilitating a strategic planning process and writing up a strategic plan for a prominent international organisation working on sexual violence;

  • Preparing a restructuring strategy and advising on a new organisational arrangement for the same organisation;

  • Designing and facilitating a strategic planning process, writing up a strategic plan and preparing a Memorandum of Incorporation and governance strategy for a national NGO;

  • Preparing a Memorandum of Incorporation for a newly formed Pan-African justice organisation;

  • Undertaking an in depth organisational evaluation for a leading Pan-African human rights body;

  • Participating in a pre-election fact-finding mission organised to investigate the situation of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe in the run-up to the July 2018 elections;

  • Preparing a report on the legal profession’s understanding of the pro bono and community service provisions of the Legal Practice Act and their submissions;

  • Designing and preparing a gender related misconduct policy;

  • Conducting research into the regulation and empowerment of the community advice office sector in South Africa;

  • Working on a strategy and providing support to a rurally based community property association.


Our clients have included:

  • The Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network

  • International Commission of Jurists

  • AfricanDefenders

  • Legal Resources Centre

  • Lawyers for Human Rights

  • Women’s Legal Centre

  • International Association of Refugee and Migration Judges

  • Various international law firms and centres including Allen & Overy, TRP Solicitors (Birmingham), Camden Community Law Centre (London), Bondy Immigration Law (Toronto), Refugee Law Office (Toronto)

  • Legal Practice Council of South Africa

  • Ingwenyama Simhulu Trust

  • African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice

  • N’wandlamharhi Community Property Association
  • Sexual Violence Research Initiative
  • National Association of Democratic Lawyers
  • Open Society Foundation of South Africa
  • Soul City
  • Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  • International Federation for Human Rights
  • SADC Law Association
  • Cyrus R. Vance Centre for International Justice
  • Centre for Advancement of Community Advice Offices
  • Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa


The Practice is a consulting firm made up of two directors, Erica Emdon and Jacob van Garderen who collectively bring with them decades of experience and extensive networks, in the public interest sector, and a deep commitment to the promotion of human rights.

Erica Emdon,

has worked for nearly thirty years as a public interest attorney and mediator, culminating in her heading ProBono.Org a social justice legal NGO. She contributed to building the organisation into a substantial legal NGO facilitating the provision of pro bono legal services from the private sector to a wide range of clients including NGOs, community-based organisations and individuals. Over the years she has given papers and attended numerous conferences on…


Jacob van Garderen,

is a South African human rights lawyer with more than twenty years’ experience in social justice activism and strategic litigation, specialising mainly in refugee and migration law. He served as National Director of Lawyers for Human Rights, a leading human rights organisation in South Africa focusing on strategic litigation, refugees and migrant rights, land reform, farmworkers, housing, penal reform, gender equality and environmental rights, since 2008.


The Practice, while be run and managed by Jacob and Erica, is to be made up of a constantly growing pool of expert associates who will be drawn upon to work on projects when needed, all of whom share the values of the company.



The Public Interest Practice is committed to providing high quality services, underpinned by values of integrity and excellence. We have the ability to take on challenging and innovative work and are constantly seeking out opportunities to push the frontiers, if by doing so we are contributing to the realisation of human rights. We are independent and nonaligned to any political or other interest group.


Erica Emdon
Twitter: @EricaEmdon

Jacob van Garderen
Twitter: @JacobvGarderen