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Blog: How to achieve intergalactic mooting domination


NLSIU Bangalore has so far proven hard to dethrone from the top of the Mooting Premier League after its huge win at the international Manfred Lachs Space Moot in October.

Here is the account of the team's long "spaced out" trip to Korea.

The journey from intra-university moot selections to the World Finals of the Manfred Lachs Moot Court Competition lasts a year and is fraught with equal amounts of joy, stress and rigour.

We began with three tough intra-university rounds which ranked us within NLSIU. Based on these ranks we opted for and got the Manfred Lachs Moot Court.

We really wanted to do a moot based on public international law and space law seemed fun.

Hours of research on the law of warfare, and the use of force in outer space brought us in contact with issues of disarmament, delimitation and liability.

Less pleasing, by far, were the ‘space’ jokes. It is not appropriate to tell a person who spends 10 hours a day in the library that she looks ‘spaced out’.

After that, we decided that nothing short of intergalactic domination would suffice.

The first competitive round of the Lachs Moot is the India Funding Round, held in NLSIU in March. This is sponsored by the Indian Space Research Organization and the prize is sponsorship for the winning team’s speakers for the Regional Rounds in Sydney.

The Funding Round was judged by Indian judges, and was characterized by the rigorous, methodical questioning of Indian moots. There was a lot of emphasis on basic concepts and principles, and this is perhaps inevitable because the number of people familiar with the intricacies of the law of outer space in India is relatively small.

Winning the Funding Round was tremendously encouraging for us, particularly since Prof. V S Mani, who judged the Finals, was kind enough to offer some very supportive and positive feedback.

The Regional Round takes place in April and is attended by teams from Asia-Pacific countries. We fought through four rounds to get to the semi-final against the National University of Singapore (frequent winners of the Lachs moot) to make it to the finals.

Our final round, against Hong Kong City College, was drastically different.

The judges, being conversant with space law as well as international law, asked less frequent, but more difficult questions. The emphasis is more application oriented, and in a sense, more demanding, because they demanded authority for every proposition.

The strength of research was a huge asset in this regard although most judges seemed to feel that our comprehensive knowledge of public international law and space law could only be hindered by the Indian tendency to speak very fast.

Reaching the World Finals in Daejeon, South Korea in October this year, we spent some time thinking about our strategy for the Semi-Final and Final rounds.

Our basic goal was to reach the final and argue before the sitting judges of the International Court of Justice.

The Semi-Final against Strathclyde University was tough, more so because they are excellent speakers, but once again we found that there really is no replacement in rhetoric for a thorough and completely researched argument.

Judges of the International Court of Justice are tremendously demanding in their desire for authoritative positions. They expect, and rightly so, that you are familiar with your arguments and those of your opponents, with the law and the academic writings on the subject, and test this with hypothetical situations, with questions and with demands for further authority.

The rigour that is demanded at the international levels of this moot is different, because they do not test knowledge in the abstract, or basic principles unless they are directly relevant.

To win the Lachs Moot at the end of the World Finals was a tremendously heartening experience. Our interaction with the judges and the various scholars present at the International Astronautical Congress (which took place at the same time) indicated to us that there was a tremendous feeling of appreciation not only for our hard work but also for the fact that India won this moot for the first time.
By NLS Bangalore fourth-year students and avid mooters Raeesa Vakil and Abhimanyu George Jain.

Together with researcher Shwetank Ginodia they won the Manfred Lachs Space Moot 2009 with Vakil also bagging the best orator prize.

The latest updates of the mooting Premier League will return after the results of the Government Law College Mumbai's 6th Nani Palkhiwala National Tax Moot Court Competition this week.

Click here for the latest league table standings.

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