Africa Round of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition: Held Virtually, Judges at the CSIR Knowledge Commons: 10th- 12th May 2023.

Congratulations to the University of Calabar (Nigeria), which was announced as the Winners of the Africa Regional Round of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition and to the University of Pretoria which took second place, held from 10th– 12th May 2023.

This year’s competition was hosted virtually by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), with co-sponsorship by CSIR and its program; NEOSS, Nigerian Space Research and Development Agency as well as Law Space Africa. 18 universities registered for this competition, however the following 13 universities across the African Continent, submitted their memorials for the Competition, namely from South Africa; Pretoria, Fort Hare, from Nigeria; Obafemi Awolowo, Benin, Bowen, Ibadan, Nnamdi Azikwe, Lagos, Calabar, Redeemers, Ambrose Ali, and from Kenya Mount Kenya, and  Zimbabwe; Midlands State (MSU) & Ezekiel Guti Universities. This shows enormous interest in this unique field of law from the African universities.

The winners of the competition: University of Calabar, Nigeria. The above-mentioned universities participated and competed in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, virtually.

The competition is an annual space moot court competition organised by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) and hosted locally by the dtic & South African Council for Space Affairs (SACSA) under the leadership of the Regional Coordinator.

The African regional round was held virtually with Judges stationed at the CSIR Knowledge Commons. During this time, University of Calabar, came first followed by Pretoria, which emerged as a first runner-up and Lagos as second runner-up. In addition to the primary awards, the University of Calabar emerged as the institution with the Best Memorials, and Mr R Deempers from the UP clinched the Best Oralist award.

The Memorials for the Competition were judged by private Counsels Mr Nester, Mr Akor (Nigeria), Ms Samanga (Zimbabwe) and Mr Tshweza (SA). The Judges for the Orals for the Competition were Adv. Kealotswe (Botswana), Adv. Makapela (SA), Mr. Nester (Nigeria), Ms Samanga (Zimbabwe) Ms Chesoni (Kenya), Ms Munyori (Kenya)

The competition offers a platform and exposure for students, academics, legal professionals and space community to legal debates on matters of international space law. It particularly presents a unique opportunity for university law and science students from different parts of the world to engage in legal matters related to outer space, telecoms, earth observation and aerospace.

The winner; Calabar will represent Africa Region and compete at the 74th IAC to be held on 2-6 October in Baku, Azerbaijan the world’s largest convention for the space industry, in order to partake in the World Finals. The world finals are traditionally judged by three members of the International Court of Justice. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the ICJ, the judicial organ of the United Nations.

This year’s case is based on a hypothetical space law dispute brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The 2023 problem concerns questions related to a “Case Concerning Laser Activities and the Use of Anti-Satellite Weapons in Outer Space”. refer to

The Competition aims to promote the interest, involvement and knowledge of Space Law amongst students by providing a fair and competitive environment for the exchange of thoughts and deepening of understanding of Space Law. This 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 Regional coordinator, Ms Majaja from the dtic mentioned that the winners of the competition will receive monetary awards from the IISL later in the year and was pleased with enormous effort and dedication displayed by all participants and their coaches. Special thanks went to the judges for their impeccable service over the years.

South Africa and the dtic in particular, takes great interest in this particular area of Space Law because all industries should be regulated for orderliness, safety, and environmental concerns and above all peaceful use of outerspace as South Africa is an active member of the United Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outerspace. This regulatory role is played by SACSA in the country.

Judges: Adv Kealotswe (Botswana), Adv Makapela(SA), Mr John (Nigeria) right on the screen and Ms Majaja Regional Coordinator (the dtic)

Judges: Adv Kealotswe (Botswana), Adv Makapela (SA) and Ms T Jolisa (the dtic)