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Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition
In 1992, the U.S. members of the International Institute of Space Law invited Georgetown University, George Washington University and the American University to each send two teams to participate in a moot court competition in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress. In 1993, the European Regional Round was created and, after the passing of Judge Manfred Lachs, then President of the IISL, the competition was renamed in his honor and memory. In 2000, the Asia Pacific Regional Round was created, and the African Regional Round was formally established commencing in 2012. Each year some 60 law schools worldwide participate in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition.
By participating in the Lachs Competition, students gain valuable experience in international mooting, debating and analyzing issues of international space law.
Each year, invited space law scholars produce the moot problem for the following year, which is released in August to universities and posted on this website. Law schools in each region register for the Regional Rounds and submit written memorials on the moot problem in March. Regional Rounds are held between March and June, with the North America Regional Round usually held in Washington, D.C., and the European and Asia Pacific Regional Rounds hosted each year in a different city in their respective regions. In 2012, the African Regional held its first round in South Africa.
In October, the four regional winners will gather for the World Finals, which are held in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress and the IISL Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space. The memorials of the winning team of each region are scored by an independent judging panel of space law scholars. The four teams will compete in oral semi-finals where the best two teams (from the combined results of memorials and orals scores) participate in the World Final. The World Final of the Lachs Competition has the unique tradition of being judged by three sitting members of the International Court of Justice.
In addition to the Manfred Lachs Trophy, awards are also given at the World Finals for the best memorials and the best oralist.
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