Catherine Warburton BA LLB LLM (cum laude) established IMBEWU Sustainability Legal Specialists (Pty) Ltd and Warburton Attorneys in the year 2000 and has acted as the Managing Partner of Warburton Attorneys and the Managing Director of IMBEWU for eighteen years. (See www.imbewu.co.za and www.warburtons.co.za.)
Catherine has more than twenty years of practical experience in the relatively new field of sustainability law in South Africa. Her experience has been mainly developed across a broad spectrum of infrastructure development and mining projects. She has also assisted NGO groups and government with legal advice and has provided input into governmental policy development in South Africa. Catherine has been involved in the environmental legal aspects of the Gautrain Project as specialist advisor since 2002 and has advised on a number of development projects and climate and energy related projects.
Whilst working as in-house Environmental Legal Counsel for Anglo American she completed a two and a half year international sustainable development training programme in 2001 entitled LEAD i.e. Leadership for the Environment and Development. In 2012 Catherine completed a Sustainability Reporting Course, certified by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). In 2013 she completed the GRI Certified Course based on the G4 reporting guidelines. Catherine completed her dissertation for her Master of Laws at Wits University in 2014 with distinction. The title of her dissertation was, “Evaluating South African EIA processes in the context of the Gautrain Project”.
Catherine has developed specific expertise in the area of climate change. She has attended UNFCCC meetings as a South African business representative and has worked on greenhouse gas mitigation and reporting projects in South Africa. She presents papers and training courses on a wide range of sustainability legal issues in South Africa. She provides strategic legal advice at the Board level, is currently advising on a number of mine closure projects and is acting in a criminal environmental prosecution.
From 2007 - 2012 the Practical Law Company in London rated Catherine as a “highly recommended” attorney in the field of environmental law in South Africa. From 2013 - 2017 Catherine Warburton has been listed as one of the Best Environmental Lawyers in South Africa by Best Lawyers SA, as published in the Business Day. She was ranked in the Chambers & Partners Guide (Environmental) on Band One in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and Who’s Who Legal (Environmental) and Who’s Who Legal (Mining) in SA in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Chambers 2018 Guide indicates that she has an "incredible reputation" and describes her as an "extraordinary lawyer: a class act who is technically good, meets deadlines and keeps abreast of the law". Catherine serves as the vice-Chairperson of the Law Society of South Africa’s Committee for Environmental Law and has been a member of the Gauteng MEC’s External EIA Appeals Advisory Panel from April 2015.