India Wins Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court

India Wins Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court

The National Law School of India University in Bangalore, India won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court this year, the first time that the annual competition involved four rather than three regions of the world.   Sponsored by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), Africa joined North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific as one of the regions fielding teams.

Each region holds initial competitive rounds from which one team each is chosen to advance to the semi-finals.   Those four teams compete in semi-finals, and the two winners move on to the finals, arguing their cases before a panel of three judges from the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  The semi-finals and finals are held in conjunction with the annual IISL colloquium, which is part of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).  The IAC was held in Naples, Italy this year.

The winners of the African round were from the Obafemi Awolowo University in the City of Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and initially were denied visas to enter Italy.  The situation was resolved only at the last minute and the team arrived just hours before its semi-final began.

The Nigerian team unsuccessfully faced off against the winner of the Asia-Pacific round, India.   In the other semi-final competition, the winner of the European round, the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, won over the North American team from the University of California at Davis.    Thus the final match was India versus Greece. 

The Indian team won not only the overall competition, but the Eilene M. Galloway award for best brief and the Sterns & Tennen award for best oralist.

In all, 54 universities around the world fielded teams as part of this competition, which involved a hypothetical case where one country removed another country’s satellite from orbit without authorization because the first country decided the satellite was a space debris hazard.

The case for the 2013 Manfred Lachs Moot Court has been published on IISL’s website.  The finals will be held in Beijing, China in October 2013 in conjunction with the next IISL colloquium.

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