UP Moot Society team obtains silver and gold in 2022 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition

Posted on May 19, 2022


A team of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Moot Society participated in the African Regional Rounds of the 2022 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition on 12 and 13 May.

From 12 to 13 May, a team of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Moot Society participated virtually in the Africa Regional Rounds of the 2022 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. The UP Law trio, consisting of oralists Comfort Ayelomi (LLB III), Koketso Moshira (LLB IV) and researcher Molebogeng Ramaijane (BCom LLB III), under the guidance of coach Kgomela Letsoalo, was declared second runners-up in the first regional round since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The team clinched gold for best memorials.

The Manfred Lachs International Space Law Moot Court Competition, since it was established in 1992, has been an annual competition. However, Africa only started participating in the competition in 2012. The competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the ‘International Court of Justice’ (the judicial organ of the United Nations). It further aims 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. It further encourages 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.

This year’s case focused on the “Case Concerning Registration and Damages Involving Objects Manufactured in Space”.

Speaking on his team’s performance in the regional rounds, coach Letsoalo said: “I am extremely proud of the team and all they have achieved. Working with this team for the last six months has been a very enjoyable experience and one that I will always cherish.”

Letsoalo also thanked everyone who was involved in assisting the team during the preparation phase of the competition and the Office of the Dean of Law for their support.

Reflecting on her experiences in the competition, oralist Moshira had this to say: “My experience during the course of this competition was positive for a myriad of reasons. Firstly, the team had good chemistry and worked well together. We grew very close over the last six months, and were able to bond through shared difficulty and hard work. I also had the chance to meet with the renowned space law scholar Professor Stephen Hobe and was able to discuss our ideas and thoughts on issues in space law. Being able to attend some of his classes sparked my passion for space law. I was able to improve my writing, research and speaking skills, which are invaluable skills to have as a lawyer.”

Team researcher Ramaijane (in pink in image) added she really enjoyed her experience and being part of the team. “I learned a lot as a mooter and researcher on the team and had the opportunity to meet and work alongside amazing hardworking individuals. Not only did I gain skills, but I was able to forge great friendships too. While working on the competition could be challenging sometimes, it remains one of my highlights for the year, which I will cherish for a long time.”

Oralist Ayelomi said that she really enjoyed her time as a member of the space law team. “I was able to build on my drafting skills and improve my advocating style along with learning how to read a room, answer questions and identify the most important issues to speak on. I learnt a lot and had fun.”

Dean Professor Elsabe Schoeman praised the team for their performance: “Hearty congratulations from all of us at UP Law! We are super proud of you all and convey our appreciation for your hard work and dedication. As always, the UP Moot Society keeps UP Law on the national, continental and international map, as we remain a 'Leading Law Faculty in and for Africa'.”

- Author Kgomela Letsoalo/UP Law

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