This short course aims to provide an overview of some of the aspects I, as an environmental specialist with over 20 years of experience in environmental management within the South African context, have had to learn to allow me to navigate South African legislation – mostly to ensure that mistakes or misinterpretations are avoided or at least minimised.
The short course aims to provide some recommendations on how to navigate through the “labyrinth”, mostly so as to not get into legal complications. The intent of this course is not to supplant a specialist’s input or that of a legal expert, or for that matter to make the participant a legal expert – remember, if uncertain always request input from the competent authority of that Act first, or a specialist or legal expert. Not totally facetiously, this mini course may serve as an ‘idiot guide’ allowing you to work your way a document and determine the general ‘dos and don’ts’.
This short consideration should allow the participant to:
1. Write better documents that can be enforced;
2. Have an idea of what the law requires of you within a specific scenario; and
3. Gets you to investigate further and remember to look for formal interpretations of the law to give strength to your consideration.
Environmental or development management professionals or process controllers, including:
1. Environmental Management professional – irrespective of type;
2. Specialists – irrespective of type;
3. Construction or infrastructure development professionals;
4. Project or programme managers for such development projects; or
5. Any scientist or engineer – so as to ensure they do not cause issues by not understanding how to unpack the law.
The course is set at a preliminary and practical level to provide guidance on how to work with legislation. This is not a formal legal consideration, but rather a layman’s consideration of how to read a piece of legal text with a certain amount of confidence. The intent is thus to provide examples and yes, a revisit to some basic grammatical conventions, to assist any professional working with legal documents. As an environmental specialist the bias is slightly towards environmental legislation, but the lessons presented are applicable to Acts and linked legislation promulgated since the mid-1990s in South Africa.
This course is validated for 0.2 CPD Credits in Category 1.