The Manfred Lachs Space Moot competition is an annual space moot competition organized by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). It was first organized in 1992, during the World Space Congress. The competition is organized in regional stages, with each region – Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America – sending its representatives to the world finals, held at the sidelines of the International Astronomy Convention.
The Africa Regional Round is usually hosted in Pretoria, South Africa where student teams from universities in Africa compete to represent the continent at the World Finals.
The Competition aims to promote the interest, involvement and knowledge of space law among students by providing a fair and competitive environment for the exchange of thoughts and the deepening of understanding of space law. The competition encourages further development on the subject matter of space law in the curriculum of academic institutions and assists participating countries in developing technical legal capacity by preparing the next generation of space lawyers
It is interesting to note that an African Team won the 2018 edition, while an African Team emerged as the first runners-up at the 2019 edition, with its member, Augustine Ushie Eneji emerging as the best oralist.
The 2021 edition is here and was kickstarted by the release of the problem – the agreed statement of facts, the parties to the hypothetical dispute, and the issues for determination – on the 15th of August 2020. The scenario is between the (fictional) States of Proclivia and Asteria, and it involves “the activities of ‘mega’-constellations of small satellites, the use of autonomous space operations, and the impacts of a collision between space objects on the freedom of scientific investigation in space and on Earth (in Antarctica)”.
The 2021 edition will start with the respective regional rounds of the aforementioned regions. Each region would begin with the submission of the memorials (that is, the written arguments) of each participating team. This is to take place, subject to the arrangements of respective regions, within March and April 2021. The African region has concluded the registration of participating teams and has commenced the reception of their memorials.
The reception of memorials will generally be followed by the oral rounds (the oral arguments pursuant to the earlier submitted memorials), on dates to be determined by the respective regions, within the months of April to June 2021.
The emergent winners of each region will go on to represent such region at the world finals. The world finals will begin with the submission of each region’s memorials, to be followed by the oral rounds. The oral rounds will take place in two stages; the semifinals and the finals, in the month of October 2021.
It is traditional of the world finals to have sitting members of the International Court of Justice (the ICJ) as part of the judges for the finale.
Due to the pervading effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world finals, as well as the regional rounds may be held virtually.
See here for the full problem
See here for the one-page synopsis of the problem.
Faleti Joshua is an avid lover of space in all its incomprehensible nature. He holds both an LL.B and a B.L degree. Joshua is a lover of music and a lawyer in his free time.