by Kent Aldenderfer

This weekend, the 27th Manfred Lachs International Space Law Moot Court Competition North American Rounds will be held at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. The Manfred Lachs Moot is an international moot court competition held each year by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) to give law students a chance to engage with current issues in space law and test their legal researching, writing, and oratorical skills. The international competition is divided into four global regions, and the winners of each region will go on to represent their home continents in the International Rounds at the International Astronautical Congress, which will be held in Washington, DC, this October. This year’s North American Rounds will have 19 teams and over 40 judges participating.

In this competition, the students are presented with a prompt that is structured as a Statement of Agreed Facts in a case between two fictional nations appearing before the International Court of Justice to resolve a fictional dispute. While the facts of the dispute are invented, the issues that arise from them are certainly not. The problem is designed to incorporate the most cutting-edge issues of space law into a challenging and engaging experience for participants and judges alike. Issues have included the legality of extraterrestrial mining, the use of force in outer space, questions of jurisdiction regarding launching state status, and many others.

The competition is an excellent opportunity for space law practitioners and law students to interact and discuss the pressing issues of space law. After the competition, competitors and judges are invited to a dinner at which awards are presented and winners announced.

LMI Advisors is proud to be a sponsor of the 27th Manfred Lachs International Space Law Moot Court Competition. LMI associate Nathan Johnson is the Regional Organizer for the North American Rounds, and LMI associate Kent Aldenderfer is participating as a judge in the competition. LMI Principal Dennis Burnett is a member of the Board of the International Institute of Space Law.