Students of the Faculty of Law University of Calabar emerged winners of the 8th African Regional Round of the Manfred Lachs International Space Law Moot Court Competition. The two day competition was held in Pretoria, South Africa on the 9 and 10 May, 2019 and drew law students from all over Africa.
Annually, the European Center for Space Law (ECSL) and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) organizes the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, with over 60 teams participating. The 1st Africa Regional Round was hosted in Pretoria, South Africa by the Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI), an initiative of the South African Department of Trade and Industry managed by the CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research), with four participating universities representing South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
The aims of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition is 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. This 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. The Competition is a platform for the students to put the analysis, drafting, presentation and arguing skills of an upcoming lawyer to the test.
Since its inception by the IISL in 1992, the Competition has grown to cover four world regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa (added in 2012). For the first time since joining in 2012, AFRICA wins the Lachs moot world finals in 2018.
For the 2019 edition, 9 universities across Africa registered for the Competition, and 6 managed to travel and participate in the Competition. Three universities from Nigeria, 2 from South Africa (University of Pretoria & UNISA), and 1 from Uganda (Makerere University) were debating the issues.
Representing the International Law Students Association (ILSA), University of Calabar, was the trio of Ebruka Nelly-Helen Neji, Kaunda John C and Ushie, Augustine Eneji. They competed against Makerere University, Uganda and The University of Pretoria, South Africa, to advance to the finals, where they took on another Nigerian University, the Niger Delta University, to emerge as the overall first in Africa.
The team will proceed to Washington DC, USA to represent the African Region at the World Finals. Its leader, Nelly-Helen Neji, also emerged as the best oralist from the African Region in the competition.
The World Finals of the Competition has the distinction of being judged by three sitting judges of the International Court of Justice.