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Europe

europeEuropean Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition

Each year the ECSL organises, together with the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), the European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition (MLMC). The regional winners from Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and North America then compete in the World Finals which are held in conjunction with the annual International Astronautical Congress. The World final of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition has the distinction of being judged by three sitting judges of the International Court of Justice.

Report of the first online European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court

The 2020 European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court was organised by the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) in collaboration with the University of Vienna, in its capacity as local partner for this edition.

In the context of the covid-19 outbreak, the in-person 2020 competition initially set to take place in Vienna, Austria, from the 31st of March to 3rd of April, at the margins of the UN COPUOS Legal Subcommittee, was cancelled and re-organised online for the first time.

We are delighted to have welcome virtually the 4 teams with the highest scores selected during the Written Rounds, to proceed to the European Semi-Finals.

After successfully completing the European Semi-Finals of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Online Competition on the 9th of June, the European Finalists proceeded to the European Final held online on the 10th of June.

The European Final was open to registered teams to attend.

The European Final opposed the University of Vienna (Applicant) against the University of Leiden (Respondent).

Both teams presented excellent arguments before the judges’ bench composed for the occasion of Prof. Armel Kerrest (France), Prof. Stephan Hobe (Germany) and Mrs. Jenni Tapio (Finland).

Ultimately the honourable Court ruled in favour of the University of Vienna (Applicant), to be the 2020 MLMC European Champions.

The ECSL wishes to congratulate Ms. Rosanna Hoffman, Ms. Katharina Harreiter and Ms. Hristina Talkova on their victory in the European Rounds.

We are looking forward to have them represent the European Region to the World Final organised online this year in the context of the covid-19 crisis.

Following the European Final, an online Award Ceremony was held to announce the various awards granted by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) Young Scholar Fund, as follows:
• Best Oralist: Hristina Talkova from the University of Vienna, Austria (100 euros)
• Best Written Memorials: University of Leiden, Netherlands (125 euros)
• European Champions: University of Vienna, Austria (200 euros)

In addition to these Awards, teams will also receive space law books and nice ESA/ECSL goodies to celebrate!
As it has been the case for the past years, the European Best Oralist is offered the opportunity to benefit from a sponsored internship. For the 2020 edition organised with the University of Vienna, we are delighted to announce that the Best Oralist has been offered an internship at United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

The ECSL takes this opportunity to congratulate wholeheartedly the 20 teams from all over Europe which have completed the Written Rounds of the 2020 European Rounds of the MLMC!

The ECSL is looking forward to seeing everyone next year hopefully in person in Vienna where the 2021 edition will be organised!

Download the report including pictures here

UPDATE 26 May 2020 regarding COVID-19:

The ECSL is glad to announce that the 2020 European Rounds of the Manfreds Lachs Moot Court will be held remotely on the 9th (Semi-Finals) and the 10th (Final) of June.

The 2020 European Rounds of the Manfreds Lachs Moot Court is organised by the ECSL in collaboration with the University of Vienna, in its capacity as local partner for this edition. The competition was initially set to take place in Vienna, Austria, from the 31st of March to 3rd of April, at the margins of the UN COPUOS Legal Subcommittee.

However, and as it is the case for most activities around the world, the covid-19 outbreak affected the European Oral Rounds. As we take the safety and well-being of teams, judges and other partners very seriously, the ECSL, together with the University of Vienna decided to cancel the 2020 European Oral Rounds.

Also, and despite the announced cancellation, the ECSL yet intends to preserve the mooting experience and ensure a certain level of continuity in its activities. As such, it has been decided to move-forward with an online version of the European Oral Rounds. The ECSL has been working on the selection of four (4) teams based on the highest written scores provided by a panel of space law experts as judges.

We are delighted to announce that the 4 teams have now been selected and will thus proceed to the remotely held European Semi-Finals, set to take place on the 9th of June. Please note that the affiliation of selected teams remains confidential until the Final.

The European Final will be held remotely on the 10th of June, and will be open to registered teams only.
The ECSL and the University of Vienna are still considering the option to release a video for public distribution after the competition. More information will be communicated on this matter following the competition.

Please note that a draft programme will be published shortly before the competition.

The ECSL wishes to thank the University of Vienna in its capacity as local partner for its great commitment to ensure this online alternative option through the GoToMeeting tool.

The ECSL also takes the opportunity to extend its congratulations to each of the 20 registered teams from all over Europe for their great work during the Written Rounds. We wish them all the best and we are looking forward to seeing them during the Final !

In the meantime, may you all take care.
ECSL Secretariat

Link to the European Space Law Moot Court page on ESA’s website: here

UPDATE 15 April 2020 regarding COVID-19:

After the announcement of the cancellation of the European Oral Rounds, the European Regional Organiser wishes to provide the following clarifications:

  • The ECSL, as the Regional Organiser, is regularly monitoring the situation in close connection with the University of Vienna, which continues to be the local organiser of the oral competition even in this remotely structured format. The situation changing rapidly and being very uncertain, many internal considerations have to be assessed.
  • The result will be based on the highest combined score of applicant+respondent of a team.
  • We would expect to have the oral rounds taking place not less than one month after the end of April notification to teams.

 

UPDATE 16 March 2020 regarding COVID-19: 

It has been decided by the European Regional Organisers to cancel the MLMC 2020 Oral Rounds. 

Additional information:

  • Although the European Oral Rounds are cancelled, we intend to preserve the mooting experience and to ensure a level of continuity in our activities;
  • As such, the European Rounds will be – as a first step – based on the written scores sent over by judges initially solicited;
  • Please note that an extension of deadline was granted to written judges to send back the scores for the memorials until the 3rd of April;
  • Following the reception of the grades, the European Organiser will rank the memorials so as to determine the top four (4) memorials from number 1 (the best) to number 4;
  • The four teams will be advised by the end of April that they will run for a remotely held oral competition organised among the top four teams, always provided that the regular assessment made by the RO allows so;
  • Meanwhile, the RO will continue to monitor the situation and assess the technical options to decide upon the conduct of the remotely held oral competition. This is not yet ruled out, and shall be announced once the RO has decided upon this matter;
  • The winning team will advance to the International Finals at the IAC in October (if applicable).

We understand that this outcome might be disappointing for many teams, however we trust everyone will understand these exceptional circumstances, as the safety and well-being of teams, judges and other partners remains our top priority.

UPDATE 11 March 2020 regarding COVID-19:

In view of the recent developments in Austria, and in Europe at large, concerning the Covid-19 virus, the government of Austria has decided that indoor events with more than 100 persons must be cancelled until the beginning of April. Even though this would not necessarily apply to the Regional Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition, the University of Vienna and all other universities in Austria have decided to close the universities for classes and exams until 3 April 2020. 

More information can be found here:  https://www.univie.ac.at/en/about-us/further-information/coronavirus/ and here: https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/index.html

This unfortunately affects the oral rounds which should have taken place in lecture halls at the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna.

As we take the safety and wellbeing of teams, judges and other partners very seriously, the ECSL, together with the University of Vienna in its capacity as the organisers of the European Regional Rounds, after a thorough assessment of the current situation and with considerable regret thus decided to cancel the oral hearings that were to be held in Vienna from 30 March to 3 April 2020.

Several options are being explored by the organisers to enable the organisation of Regional Rounds nevertheless, including postponing the oral hearings to June (15 to 20 June 2020 could be an option, at the margins of the first week of the UNCOPUOS meeting) or running the oral hearings online (the Willem Vis Moot Court Competition is currently working on such a solution).

We will inform you as soon as possible about the most feasible option and way forward.

The 2020 MLMC European Rounds

The 2020 Manfreds Lachs Moot Court will be organised by the ECSL in collaboration with the University of Vienna. The competition will be organised in Vienna, Austria, from the 31st of March to 3rd of April.

The competition will commence the morning of the 31st of March. Registration for the competition may already be organised the evening before, on the 30th of March (subject to how many teams sign up for this year’s competition and how many sessions we need to organise). This information will be communicated to all teams after the registration deadline.

The 2020 MLMC Competition is organised concurrently with the 59th session of the UNCOPUOS Legal Subcommittee taking place in Vienna, Austria from the 23 March – 3 April. More information on UNOOSA website following the below: www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/copuos/index.html

Registration for 2020

To register, see details on the website of the ECSL here. The registration form is available here.

Timeline for the 2020 European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court

  • 15 December 2019: Deadline for Submission of Requests for Clarification
  • 23 December 2019: Deadline for Team Registration
  • 31 January 2020: Deadline for Author to Respond to Requests for Clarification
  • 17 February 2020: Deadline for Submission of Written Memorials
  • CANCELLED – 31 March – 3 April 2020: European Oral Rounds – University of Vienna, Austria – CANCELLED

If you have any questions regarding the competition please contact the ECSL Secretariat: ecsl@esa.int

Activities and resources

Visit the Lachs resources page to access many useful documents, links to other sites, memorials examples, guide to prepare memorials and oral arguments and much more.

The European Rounds were successfully organised in:

2019: University of Paris-Sud, Paris, France 

2018: NOVA Law School, Portugal

2017: University of Helsinki, Finland

2016: University of Strathclyde Law School, UK

2015: Belgrade Union University, Serbia

2014: University of Wroclaw, Poland

2013: Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

2012: University of Bucharest, Romania

2011: State University of St. Petersburg, Russia

2010: University of Szechenyi Istvan, Hungary

Official Lachs Moot rules
Supplemental European rules 

IISL Young Scholars Awards

The IISL Young Scholars Fund was created in 2011 to support the achievements of students participating in each of the four Regional Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. The Fund grants monetary awards in the following categories:

  • Winning Team: 200 Euros
  • Team with the Best Memorials: 125 Euros
  • Best Oralist of the Regional Round: 100 Euros

The Young Scholars Fund has been formed and is largely maintained by donations from IISL members, to honor the very significant achievement of these students.

Contact details

Email the ECSL Representative at: lachsmoot-europe@iislweb.org.

2019 European Rounds in Paris, France (photo credits: ECSL)