Space Law Moot Court
Team of the University of Vienna shines in the World-Final
The Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court is a public international law competition organised each year by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). The team from the University of Vienna was very successful this year: it won the European Regional Rounds and moved forward to the World Final, reaching second place and winning the Best Memorial Award as well as the award for the Best Oralist.
Differences of opinion on an international space station about a change of course lead to a serious collision with space debris. A spaceship is damaged, and an astronaut dies. Eventually, the participating states bring claims against each other before the International Court of Justice.
This scenario provided the basis for lively discussions between teams of students from numerous universities around the world at the annual international Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court.
Conflict between two states
Regional Rounds determined the winners from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America who competed in the World Final. The students’ task was to find legal arguments for both parties to the dispute and to submit them in written memorials and in oral pleadings in the English language. The European Regional Round was organised at the Vienna Juridicum this year. Due to the restrictions connected to the outbreak of the Corona virus, they were carried out online at the beginning of June. The team of the University of Vienna was the winner and Hristina Talkova was received the Best Oralist Award.
University of Vienna won the second place as well as the price for Best Memorial and Best Oralist
Due to the pandemic, the World Finals were also held online on 23 October. The team of the University of Vienna, consisting of Katharina Harreiter, Rosanna Hoffmann und Hristina Talkova, won the World Semi-Final against the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and moved on to the World Final, competing against the team from the National Law University Delhi (India). After strong pleadings by both teams the jury, consisting of sitting judges of the International Court of Justice, Peter Tomka (Slovakia, President), Joan Donoghue (USA) and Kirill Gevorgian (Russia) declared the team of the National Law University Delhi (India) as the winner. The University of Vienna received the World Best Memorial Award, and Hristina Talkova was again crowned as Best Oralist.
The team was coached by Clara Baumgartner and Michael Friedl, who themselves participated in the Space Law Moot Court a few years ago. Since then, they have been supporting the subsequent teams, this year as university assistants in a joint course. The University of Vienna has been participating in this competition since 2012 on the initiative of Professor Irmgard Marboe at the Section for International Law and International Relations. After reaching the finals of the European Rounds in 2019, becoming the Vice-World Champion this year is the most successful result so far.
UN/Austria Symposium “Space Applications for Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action”
The UN/Austria Symposium “Space Applications for Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action” took place as an online event from 1-3 September 2020.
During the Symposium international experts discussed how space technologies can support climate action. Climate action is one of the most pressing priorities for action within the Sustainable Development Goals framework. Space technologies can contribute significantly to global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The Symposium showcased concrete climate action cases through the demonstration of applications using space solutions. Users of space technologies presented lessons learnt and experts discussed the role of space applications in climate-related policies. A range of different presentation formats were used to highlight various aspects of space applications for climate action, including best practices and demonstrations of solutions and services available for developing countries.
Specific policy discussions enabled the exchange of experiences and know-how on how to incorporate space applications and tools for climate action in environmental policy. The overarching objective of the Symposium was to offer users, with particular focus on developing countries, an opportunity to explore tools, policies, and approaches that could be adopted in their respective regional, national or local context.
More information can be found on the website of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.
ECSL Activities 2020
24-28 August 2020: ECSL Summer Webinars
17-28 August 2020: ECSL Summer Course on Space Law and Policy, NOVA Law School, Portugal – cancelled
19 June 2020: ECSL Young Lawyers’ Symposium, ESA ESOC, Germany – held remotely
9-10 June 2020: European Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court, University of Vienna Law School, Austria – held remotely
23 April 2020: ECSL Practitioners’ Forum, ESA ESOC, Germany – cancelled
More information regarding ECSL events can be found on the ECSL website.
Space Law Moot Court
Impressive performance by the Viennese Team in the European Final of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition
Differences of opinion onboard an international space station about a change of course lead to a serious collision with space debris. The spaceship is damaged and an astronaut dies. The participating States eventually bring their claims before the International Court of Justice.
This scenario provided the basis for lively debates between teams of students from numerous universities around the world at the annual international Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court.
Conflict between two states in space
The Space Law Moot Court is an international competition organised each year by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). Regional rounds determine the winners from Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and North America who will compete in the international final. The basis is a fictitious case in which a conflict between two States in outer space occurs, which is brought before the International Court of Justice. The students’ task is to find legal arguments for both parties to the dispute and to send them in for assessment in two written submissions. This is followed by the oral presentation of these arguments in the regional rounds before experts in international law who act as judges.
The European Regional Round was organised by the University of Vienna this year. Due to the restrictions in connection to the outbreak of the Corona virus they were conducted online in the beginning of June.
First place and Best Oralist Award for University of Vienna
The team of the University of Vienna, consisting of Katharina Harreiter, Rosanna Hoffmann and Hristina Talkova, was able to assert themselves against the team from Greece in the semi-finals, and thus reached the final against the University of Leiden (Netherlands). Although strong arguments were put forward by both sides, the judges declared the team from the University of Vienna the winner of the European Rounds. Hristina Talkova particularly convinced the judges with her rhetorical brilliance and her profound knowledge of international law and was consequently chosen to take home the Best Oralist Award.
The team was supervised by Clara Baumgartner and Michael Friedl, who have been participants in the Space Law Moot Court a few years ago themselves. Since then, they have been supporting the subsequent teams, this year as university assistants within a joint course. The University of Vienna has been participating in this competition on the initiative of Professor Irmgard Marboe from the Department of International Law since 2012. After reaching the final last year, winning the European Regional Round this year is the most successful result so far.
Normally, winning the Regional Round would have resulted in a sponsored trip to the International Astronautical Congress for the worldwide semi-finals and finals. This year, however, it will not take place in Dubai as planned, but also online. The team is already looking forward to the new challenge and after a short but well-deserved break will start preparations to compete against the winners of the other Regional Rounds in autumn.
A media report can be found here.