Three fouth-year LLB students participated in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition at Mount Kenya University in Nairobi from 8-10 May 2013. Four teams participated in the continental challenge to win the opportunity to participate in the World Challenge in Beijing, in September this year.
LLB students Nomfundo Mbhele, Thandukwazi Buthelezi and Lackson Qoto were coached by Mercantile Law lecturer, Lonias Ndlovu. Buthelezi said: “We have gone an extra mile to obtain resources for research, as space law is still a fairly unexplored area as it affects the international government sector and space agencies. At the moot court we argued for the applicant as well as the respondents. It had an International Court of Justice setting and was carried out in two parts that is bringing the matter before the court and deciding whether a domestic law can apply internationally and also whether a nation has an obligation to render assistance to another in space fairing missions.”
Mbhele said: “This was my first international moot court. In 2011, Qoto and I participated in the Human Rights Moot Court in Pretoria. However, it was easier and a familiar topic as we are frequently exposed to Human Rights issues. Space law is not a matter that comes before the court amongst general public proceedings and it is a subject that is taught in only a few international institutions.”
The event included a conference, workshops, tourist trips and the participation of South African advocates who specialise in space law and judges from the Supreme Court of Kenya. The World Challenge will also include the participation of judges from the International Court of Justice.
Caption: Fouth-year UNIZULU LLB students (from left) Lackson Qoto, Nomfundo Mbhele and Thandukwazi Buthelezi