The Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition is an international competition for law students, which started in 1992. It is organised by the International Institute of Space Law. Some 48 law schools now compete worldwide in different regional rounds for admission to the final round in October each year, which is held at the annual International Astronautical Congress.
Thanks to the energetic efforts of Prof Erika de Wet, Co-director: Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at UP, and regional organiser Adv Lulu Makapela, four teams of law students will compete in the preliminaries of the Africa Round on Friday, 18 May, 2012 at the University of Pretoria.
She explains, “Following our local round last year, we are delighted to welcome students from four universities – two beyond our borders – to this event. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to debate the problem that has been posed for the competition: questions related to on-orbit satellite collision, non-cooperative satellite removal and damages.
“These are contemporary issues relevant to outer space and I believe that these students will find the experience both useful and enjoyable as they apply their understanding of public international law to this problem. We hope that this experience serves to develop their legal advocacy skills while they interact in this unique forum where there is ample opportunity for intellectual and cultural exchange.”
The AISI supports the Africa Round of the 2012 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition as part of its space regulation and human capital development programme activities. Marié Botha, programme manager: AISI, explains, “Capacity building in space regulation is vitally important for Africa. The AISI is committed to this goal; in 2011 we hosted the second annual training seminar on on air, space and telecommunications law in collaboration with the University of Pretoria.”
Botha concludes, “We believe that hosting the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition creates a platform for African students to showcase their talents in this specialised field.”
The final of the Africa Round takes place at the High Court where Dr Tare Brisibe, chairperson, Legal Sub-committee of the United Nations Committee on Outer Space, and other members of the judging panel, will hear the arguments.
Awards are made on the basis of memorials submitted in advance, and the performance of each team in terms of its role as applicant and respondent.
The winner will compete in the world finals to be held in Naples, Italy, from 1 to 5 October 2012 at the 63rd International Astronautical Congress. De Wet is keen to see an Africa winner trounce the competition, “We shall be watching the outcome of the finals in October. It would be amazing to have an African winner this year.”
For more information on the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, visit http://www.iislweb.org/lachsmoot/