Nebraska Law students will square off against colleagues from Australia’s University of Adelaide to see who has the best knowledge of space law. The contest, a practice round for the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, is Jan. 31.
Both teams will compete in regional contests in the spring.
The University of Adelaide is the leading space law institution in Australia, while the University of Nebraska College of Law leads the United States with its space law program. Since 2008, Nebraska has been the nation’s only law college to offer a Master of Law degree in space, cyber and telecommunications law.
Twenty-one undergraduate law students from the Adelaide are Nebraska as part of a space law and national security tour. Accompanied by Adelaide’s Melissa de Zwart, dean of law, and Dale Stephens, professor of law, the students also are touring Washington D.C., and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Nebraska stop is Jan.29-31.
The Lachs competition is organized annually by the International Institute of Space Law. The competition has regional rounds in the Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. The world finals are judged by the International Court of Justice, based at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands.
Space law is the study of the laws and regulations governing activities in space and Earth-based processes necessary to launch and communicate with objects in space. Commercial space flight, scientific endeavors, satellite-related commerce and military applications are among activities affected by space law.
While in Lincoln, Adelaide students have met Jack Beard and Matthew Schaefer, Nebraska Law faculty, to focus on the laws and policies specifically relating to national security and space law. They have also attended law classes, learned about legal structures at the Nebraska State Capitol and the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and visited the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum.
Nebraska’s space law moot court team includes Aaron Kirk, Nate Woodford and Lyndsay Hurilla. Kirk, a major in the U.S. Air Force, is a JAG officer pursuing a Master of Law degree; Woodford, an attorney with Firefly Aerospace in Cedar Park, Texas, also is pursuing a Master of Law degree. Hurilla is a second-year law student working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as an intern for the House of Representatives’ Science, Space and Technology Committee. Woodford and Hurilla will participate in the moot court session remotely.