Edwin Cameron

Edwin Cameron has been a Justice of South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, since 2009. Previously, he was Judge of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa. He is highly respected for his human rights campaigning and legal practice.

He started practice at the Johannesburg Bar in 1983, and from 1986 conducted a human rights practice from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) where in 1989 he was awarded a personal professorship in law. His practice included labour and employment law, defence of ANC fighters charged with treason, conscientious and religious objection, land tenure and forced removals, and gay and lesbian equality. From 1988 he advised the National Union of Mineworkers on AIDS/HIV and helped draft and negotiate the industry’s first comprehensive AIDS agreement with the Chamber of Mines. While at CALS, he drafted the Charter of Rights on AIDS and HIV, co-founded the AIDS Consortium (a national affiliation of non-governmental organisations working in AIDS), which he chaired for its first three years, and founded and was the first director of the AIDS Law Project. He oversaw the gay and lesbian movement’s submissions to the Kempton Park negotiating process, in the course of which he delivered his inaugural lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand, entitled ‘Sexual Orientation and the Constitution: A Test Case for Human Rights’, which, with other work, was influential in securing the express inclusion of sexual orientation in the South African Constitution.

In October 1994, after taking silk at the Bar, he was appointed an Acting Judge of the High Court and chair of a commission to investigate illegal arms transactions. He was appointed permanently to the High Court from 1 January 1995. In 2000 he was appointed a Judge of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal. On 31 December 2008 President Kgalema Motlanthe appointed Cameron to the Constitutional Court, taking effect from 1 January 2009 and on 30 June 2009 Cameron was appointed as an Honorary Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.

Edwin Cameron is the co-author of a number of books and scholarly articles on the judiciary, labour and employment law, the law of trusts, AIDS and HIV, the legal rights of gays and lesbians, and the legal computation of time. He has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2000) and he is the 2009-2010 winner of the Brudner Prize from Yale University. The Brudner prize is awarded annually to an accomplished scholar or activist whose work has made significant contributions to the understanding of LGBT issues or furthered the tolerance of LGBT people.

Edwin Cameron is author of Witness to AIDS (2005) and his latest book, Justice: A Personal Account, was published in February 2014.