Adv Leon Gerber

Position, academic & professional qualifications

Leon Gerber is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Law, and the Director of the Extractive Industry Law in Africa Unit (EILA) in the Faculty of Law.  He holds the degrees LLB, and LLM in Constitutional and Administrative Law with specialisation in Environmental Law (Pret), as well an LLM in Mineral Law and Policy (Dund, UK). He is currently reading towards an LLD on the topic of the International Seabed Authority's contribution towards the development and regulation of deep seabed mining, particularly with regards to the operationalisation of the principle of common heritage of mankind.  He was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa in 2009.

Academic & professional experience

Leon joined the Department of Public Law in 2015 to head the development of the Extractive Industries Law in Africa Programme. He also represents the Faculty of Law on the Management Committee of the Mining Resilience Research Centre, an inter-faculty, mining-related research institute.

He previously worked in academia and private practice in the United Kingdom and South Africa, specifically on matters related to the mining sector. He has produced and delivered various corporate and government training seminars across Africa, including for the African Development Bank, African Legal Support Facility, the Ghana Minerals Commission, and the Malawi Ministry of Mines.  He has also participated in various funded research projects under the auspices of the UK Department for International Development, the European Union Framework 7 Programme, the Scottish Government-Malawi Development Programme, and the South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs.

Teaching activities

He is the Course Leader for the postgraduate LLM in Extractive Industry Law in Africa (coursework) and MPhil in Extractive Industry Policy, Management and Regulation (coursework) and, in this capacity, oversees and coordinates the modules Rights to and Regulation of Extractive Industries (EIL 801), and Sustainability Aspects of the Extractive Industries (EIL 802).  He also oversees the elective distance learning modules EIL 803; EIL 804, and EIL 812, and acts as a supervisor for LLB and LLM dissertations in his fields of interest.

Representative publications

  • Gerber L. and Grogan R., 'Challenges of Operationalising Good Industry Practice and Best Environmental Practice in Deep Seabed Mining Regulation', Special Edition: Environmental issues around deep seabed mining, Marine Policy Elsevier (2018).
  • Gerber L., Grogan R., ‘Good Industry Practice & Best Environmental Practice’, First Report of the Code Project: Developing ISA Environmental Regulations (Pew Charitable Trusts, 2017).
  • Currie D., Gerber L., ‘Public Participation’, First Report of the Code Project: Developing ISA Environmental Regulations (Pew Charitable Trusts, 2017).
  • Switzer S., Gerber L., Sindico F., "Access to Minerals: WTO Export Restrictions and Climate Change Considerations", in Rolland (ed) [Special issue: "Climate Change and International Economic Law: Chiasms and Complementarities"] 4:3 Laws, Georgetown University Law Center, (2015) 617-637.
  • Gerber, L., and Sindico, F., "Mining and Sustainable Development", in Fitzmaurice, M., Maljean-Dubois, S., Negri, S. (eds), Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development from Rio to Rio+20 (Brill-Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2014).
  • Gerber, L., with Farooki, M., "Africa and the EU Mineral Trade", Working Paper no. 77, POLINARES: European Commission 7th Framework Programme (2012) 1-12.
  • Gerber, L., "The position of the EU in global mineral interactions", Working Paper no. 70, POLINARES: European Commission 7th Framework Programme (2012) 1-18.
  • Gerber, L., and Warden-Fernandez, J., "The institutional framework for access to mineral resources", Working Paper no. 56, POLINARES: European Commission 7th Framework Programme (2012) 1-28.
  • Ostrowski, W., et al., "Framework for evaluation of future approaches: Criteria / Principles", Working Paper no. 52, POLINARES: European Commission 7th Framework Programme (2012) 1-28.
  • Gerber, L., "Safety, Health and Environmental Concerns in Sustainable Mining Finance:  The Import of Standards for Managing Lender Risk", CEPMLP Annual Review 14 (2011).

Areas of specialisation

Leon's expertise is in Mineral- and Environmental Law and Policy, with his research and teaching activities relating to the regulation and governance of mining, particularly the developmental, social and environmental aspects of the sector.

His primary research stream is on the incipient field of regulatory frameworks for seabed mining. and the development of blue economies.  His secondary research streams include the relationship between mining and development in Africa; emergent mineral value chains; responsible mineral resource governance; the optimisation of mining agreements; security and conflict in the natural resource sectors,  and the implications of international environmental law for mining operations.

Academic & professional memberships

  • International Marine Minerals Society
  • IUCN Academy of Environmental Law
  • World Commission on Environmental Law
  • Mining Resilience Research Centre
  • Qualified Advocate of the High Court of South Africa


He formerly held the position of Rio Tinto Research Fellow in the Mining Group of the 'Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy' (CEPMLP) at the University of Dundee (UK) for five years. At present, he is the Director for the Extractive Industry Law in Africa Unit (EILA) under the auspices of the Department of Public Law.

Awards & bursaries

Leon was awarded a Rio Tinto-FCO-Chevening Scholarship (£25,948) for postgraduate studies in Mineral Law and Policy, in 2010, and is a member of the Golden Key International Academic Honours Society, University of Pretoria Chapter.

Representative participation at conferences and seminars

  • "Deep Seabed Mining: A Niche of Opportunities", GROWING BLUE: Sustainable and Shared Exploitation of the Ocean Conference, Maputo, Mozambique (2019). 
  • ‘Comments on the recent developments of Deep Seabed Mineral Resource Regulation’, 16th Annual Colloquium of IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, University of Strathclyde (UK), (2018).
  • ‘Recent Developments in the Regulation of Deep Seabed Mineral Resources’, South Africa Mineral Law Teachers Seminar, University of Cape Town, South Africa, (2017).
  • ‘Overview and comments on the ISA Draft Regulations on Exploitation of Mineral Resources in the Area’, DIRCO, Pretoria, South Africa, (2017).
  • ‘Profiling some of the largest Extractive Sector investments in Southern Africa’ 1st Southern African International Arbitration Conference, University of Pretoria, (2016).
  • ‘Rare Earths: A Rare Dispute?’ Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance Seminar, University of Strathclyde, UK (2014).
  • ‘Emerging Trends in the Regulation of the Mining Sector’ Keynote Speaker, Asmara Mining Conference, Asmara, Eritrea (2012).
  • ‘The Institutional Framework for Access to Mineral Resources’ POLINARES: European Union Framework 7 Programme, Work Package 4 Seminar, London, UK (2012).
  • ‘Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in protected areas and critical ecosystems’ ASM-PACE Roundtable Discussions (IIED), London, UK (2012).
  • ‘A legal synopsis of offshore mining and its impact on the marine environment’ Society of Teachers of Law of Southern Africa Conference, University of Pretoria (2008).

Contact details

- Author Department of Public Law
Published by Elzet Hurter

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