UNICAL-Law Wins the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Competition, to Represent Africa in the World Round in Azerbaijan


In an impressive display of legal prowess, the talented team from the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, clinched victory at the 12th African Regional Rounds of the prestigious Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition held between the 10th -12th of May 2023.

Competing against top contenders from across the continent, Team Unical emerged triumphant, securing their place as a leading force in the field of space law.

The written submissions of the team, referred to as *Memorials” was also adjudged the *Best Memorials* at the competition.

The Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, named in honour of the renowned international space law expert, is a highly regarded international competition that simulates legal proceedings in the field of space law. It challenges participating teams to analyze complex hypothetical space law cases and present their arguments before a panel of esteemed judges. The Finals of the competition is argued before sitting justices of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). This year, the competition featured a Case Concerning Laser Activities and The Use of Anti-Satellite Weapons in Outer Space.

Throughout the African Regional Rounds hosted from South Africa, “Team Unical” showcased exceptional legal acumen and eloquence, impressing both judges and fellow competitors. Their comprehensive understanding of space law principles, coupled with their persuasive advocacy skills, propelled them to the top of the competition.

Three students of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (Unical) – Musa Omma-Agbon Zaiki, Felix-Uche Richard Chikeziri and Akpoiroro Victory Oghenekparobor comprised the winning team, with each member contributing their unique expertise and dedication under the guidance of their coach/staff adviser, Mr Owoche Antai.

After an intense final round between Team University of Calabar (Nigeria) and Team University of Pretoria (South Africa), the judges were swayed by the compelling arguments and persuasive delivery of the Nigerian team.

As winners of the African Regional Rounds, “Team Unical” will now progress to the World Rounds of the competition in Baku, Azerbaijan, where they will have the opportunity to represent Africa and compete against other regional champions from around the world.

The World Rounds, set to take place in October 2023 as part of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), will undoubtedly test their mettle further, as they contend with other regional champions for the 1st prize position.

Interestingly, space law is not taught at the University of Calabar, yet, the passion of the students for this novel area of law, has propelled them to victory. This underscores the growth and significance of space law as a field of study and practice, and emphasizes the important role the space sector has to play within the African continent, particularly in Nigeria.

Team Unical have gone on to express gratitude to the Regional Organisers of the African Rounds for an amazing experience, as well as Professor Cyril Ndifon (Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar), Dr Jake Otu Enyia (Associate Professor) for their support. They also thank the International Law Students Association (University of Calabar Chapter) for giving them the platform to compete in this competition. They also expressed their gratitude to Ms Nelly-Helen Ebruka, Mr Augustine Ushie, Mr Kaunda John and alumni coach and Lecturer, Ms Anne Agi for encouraging and inspiring them to victory after their success at the Manfred Lachs World Rounds in 2019.

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