Meet the Team
Catherine Warburton BA LLB LLM (cum laude)
Managing Director – Warburton Attorneys Inc
Catherine Warburton established Warburton Attorneys in the year 2000 and the firm celebrates its 23rd year of operation this year. Catherine has acted as the Managing Partner since inception.
Catherine has more than twenty years of practical experience in the field of sustainability law in South Africa. Her experience has mainly been 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 regulatory development in South Africa. Catherine was involved in the environmental legal aspects of the Gautrain Project as specialist advisor from 2002 to 2016 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 a number of greenhouse gas mitigation projects, including CDM projects, carbon capture and storage research and on greenhouse gas reporting. Catherine is part of a team that is currently developing and reviewing South Africa’s first set of Carbon Budget and Mitigation Plan Regulations. Her experience includes legal advice on Carbon Offset projects and she tracks world-wide climate change litigation and developments in the carbon market. This work also serves to compliment her air quality related work in South Africa.
She has worked on countless renewable energy projects in due diligence investigations and providing legal opinions. Catherine has presented papers and training courses on a wide range of sustainability legal issues, including on climate change. She provides strategic legal advice at the Board level and is currently advising on a number of mine closure projects and is acting in a large corporate criminal environmental prosecution, which is the first of its kind in South Africa.From 2013 – 2022 Catherine Warburton has been listed as one of the Best Environmental Lawyers in South Africa by Best Lawyers SA. She was ranked in the Chambers & Partners Guide (Environmental) on Band One from 2016 to 2022, in Who’s Who Legal (Environmental) from 2015 to 2022 and in Who’s Who Legal (Climate Change). The Chambers 2020 Guide reported that she possesses a wealth of knowledge covering all manner of environmental advisory, compliance and contentious issues. Clients are quick to praise her as “extremely approachable while simultaneously being an expert in environmental law with vast amounts of experience” and describe her as “methodical, meticulous, experienced and efficient“. Catherine served as a member of the Gauteng MEC’s External EIA Appeals Advisory Panel from 2015 to 2019. The Business Today Legal Awards listed Catherine as one of South Africa’s Top 10 Influential Environmental lawyers in 2023.
Legal Consultant – Warburton Attorneys Inc
Melissa has approximately fifteen years of legal sector experience, most in Public Law practice, including eight years at one of the large and leading corporate law firms in South Africa. She has also practised at smaller firms (with general or specialist practice areas), was appointed as in-house counsel and prosecuted briefly to obtain a wider scope of experience.
She advises public and private sector clients on various matters, mainly regulated areas such as environmental and related planning and land use, natural resources, health and safety, public procurement, and access to information laws, as well as administrative justice, and product liability matters. This includes advising on applicable regulatory approvals and requirements, and compliance risks or liabilities in transactions. Her litigation/dispute resolution experience includes acting for clients in substantive judicial reviews, administrative appeals, prosecutions, and inquiries (disciplinary and occupational health and safety-related incident inquiries).
Melissa’s practical experience and interest in environmental compliance and enforcement action led to PhD research that considered the use and impact of criminal sanctions for environmental law transgressions (particularly in industrial facilities in RSA) and overcriminalization.
Mikaella Bodeux BSc LLB LLM
Associate Attorney – Warburton Attorneys
In 2016, Mikaella completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in environmental science at Rhodes University, South Africa. She went on to complete her Bachelor of Laws at Rhodes University in 2018. Mikaella graduated on the Dean’s list for academic merit and was awarded the Brian Peckham Memorial Prize for best student in Environmental Law in her year. During the 2016 university vacation, Mikaella interned at GIBB within their Environmental Consultancy division.
After graduating from her LLB, Mikaella worked as a candidate attorney in a general litigation firm. After completion of her articles, Mikaella pursued further studies in the Netherlands. She was enrolled for the 2021-2022 academic year in the Master’s Programme for Public International Law at Utrecht University. She specialized in oceans, sustainability, and the environment. Her LLM thesis, which was awarded a distinction, explored the tensions between phasing down, phasing out and CBDR-RC under the Glasgow Climate Pact. Mikaella was admitted as an attorney in the High Court of South Africa in May 2022 and commenced work at Warburton Attorneys in November that year.
Ayanda Dube BCom LLB
Associate Attorney – Warburton Attorneys
Ayanda Dube obtained a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree, majoring in Law, Economics and Management in 2018 from Rhodes University. She then graduated with a Bachelors of Law (LLB) degree at Rhodes University in 2020 and is currently pursuing a part-time Masters in environmental law at the University of Cape Town.
During university vacations in 2019, Ayanda interned at Sasol South Africa Limited within the Safety, Health and Environmental Centre of Expertise within the Legal, Intellectual Property and Compliance Services Division. In this regard, she worked closely with three internal legal advisors with accountability for SHE Legal advice and support to the Sasol group of companies. Her deliverables included legal research, inputs into legal risk assessments and informing legal positions on material sustainability matters.
From January 2020, Ayanda worked at Boqwana Burns Incorporated as a candidate attorney where she assisted with the drafting, filing and instituting of matters in corporate law, state and administrative law, divorce law, construction law as well as banking and finance law. She also immersed herself in the firm’s social media and marketing initiatives and its transition into virtual business and court practices such as CaseLines.
Ayanda commenced work at Warburton Attorneys Inc. on 1 May 2021, as a Candidate Attorney and completed her articles. On 10 February Ayanda was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa on 10 February 2023 and continues to assist our senior attorneys with environmental and health and safety legal matters.
Stuart Tredgold LLB
Candidate Attorney – Warburton Attorneys
Stuart Tredgold obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) in 2019 from the University of the Free State and is working towards a Master of Laws (LLM) specialising in Environmental Law through the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, to be completed in 2022.
Stuart worked at the University of the Free State’s Student Representative Council Executive Portfolio: Academic Council in 2017/2018 where he gained experience assisting students with solving a variety of academic related matters as well as the establishment of a standardised system for all faculty student councils to follow. Stuart also took part in several vacation Intern programmes where he assisted attorneys with a wide variety of legal tasks as well as taking part in both theoretical and practical legal exercises.
Stuart commenced work at Warburton Attorneys on 1 March 2022 as a Candidate Attorney and assists the junior and senior attorneys with a wide range of environmental and health and safety legal matters.