In Conversation with the Runner – Up of Asia-Pacific Rounds of Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition 2020

Deepika Hungenahally , Rithika Mathur , Toshika Soni - NLUO



On 1st Jun 2020, the team comprising of Deepika Hungenahally (IV year), Rithika Mathur (II Year):  and Toshika Soni (II Year) secured Runner- up position at Asia-Pacific Rounds of  Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition 2020.


Congratulations to all three of you. This is really a huge win.


1. What was the primary motivation behind choosing to do the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition 2020?


We mostly started off the hunt with the expectation of picking up a moot which tests core Public International Law knowledge. Our second consideration was our timelines- we needed a moot that would fit with our semester breaks, exams, internships and other commitments over the year. Manfred Lachs is definitely deeply revered and has its own legacy. We knew it was the right fit.


2. How was the process of preparation? How did you go about the entire stage? 


We had a structured preparation for the moot. All our initial months before the problem released were invested in pre-reading of Public International Law and Space Law. We brushed up on all basics. For Manfred Lachs, technical reading comes handy so we dipped into that next. After the problem released, it was mostly about brainstorming, connecting the dots and multiple drafts with revisions.


3. How was it like working with the team? What do you think are your team’s fortes? What were the roadblocks?


We had an all-women’s team with trust and mutual respect as its foundation. We were flexible around each other’s schedules and worked in an integrated manner but independently which worked out for us. We all came from our different specialised areas like Public International Law, Criminal Law, drafting and research. Our varied experiences bridged together to support the team. We had a lot of personal and professional roadblocks for the moot, which makes the win all the more memorable. From Covid-19 emergency evacuation 8 days before the final submission to cancellation of Regional Oral Rounds, hectic internships and academics, we had to work through a lot to make the moot happen for the team.


4. How many teams were you up against in the competition ?


We were up against about 40 very able teams from all over Asia-Pacific region.


5. Students mostly are too scared and hesitating while participating in moot court due to intense research work. What are the basics of researching? 


It’s best to identify, from past patterns and the organisers’ details, the basic areas of law involved in the moot. For Manfred Lachs, it’s Space Law and Public International Law. Then a few prominent primary norms have to be identified. Then, the team can choose to segregate their research and study problem-specific or issue-specific.


6. How important is mooting in a law student’s career? What message would you like to pass on to the mooters and the non-mooters?


Mooting definitely is a great practice for any budding lawyer to learn courtroom courtesy, diplomacy, intensive research, oral argumentation, teamwork etc. It’s not indispensable for law students, but it is definitely a very popular and effective way to learn legal skillset in a short time frame.


Deepika Hungenahally (IV year): I believe that moots gives students an opportunity to explore the area of law that they are extremely passionate about.

I agree subjects like PIL and ICL have limited scope and accessibility when it comes to actual practice in India. But moots gives us a chance to work on and present quality research on upcoming legal questions pertaining to international affairs.

I also believe that the whole process of mooting gives law students an exposure to a variety of skills which will reflect positively on your career ahead.


To both mooters and non-mooters:


Take the step to explore different opportunities that comes up during your course. You have nothing to lose while you are still studying. With committed teammates and great friendships, you will definitely have a memorable experience!


Rithika Mathur (II Year) : Moot courts, in my opinion serve a dual purpose, they help both in research as well as presenting your arguments. They help you in exploring different areas of law, also those which have less scope for practice, specially in India. With moot courts, I have personally learned that a lot goes into presenting an argument and analysing research questions.

They have the capacity of developing your skills, not only academically, but also personally. Moot courts are an overall experience which enhance your approach towards law, making your thinking more creative, prudent and analytical.


A message to mooters and non mooters:


It is very essential to follow your interests in law school, because that is the place where you can experiment and explore the most. It is the best place to enjoy and work separately and also enjoy the work. So, my message to everyone out there is explore as much as you can, participate as much as you can, and do what interests you to have greater experiences ahead.


Toshika Soni (II Year): I would just like to share my key insights from my mooting experience for all your viewers. Firstly, there is nothing to fear about a moot. They seem intimidating at first with a lot of work and time required, but once you make the first resolve that you are going to pursue it, it works out itself. You’ll learn everything in due time.

Secondly, be open to learning. Be a sponge to absorb the vast pre-readings, argumentation styles, dressing ethic, criticism- be receptive to all valuable information through the process because that’s the real purpose, not the award.

Thirdly, trust your team. Appreciate the diversity in working styles and make it an easy journey for all those working with you. Avoid fights and take nothing personally. Spend time together and use everyone’s authentic styles to the team’s benefit. Finally, please don’t stress- mooting or not. Try to seize whatever opportunity you can and have fun. Love your work, that’s how you’ll ace at it.


7. Final comments on the level of competition and the organisation of the competition.


Given the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic this year, the organisers were very efficient with the competition. They incorporated our suggestions and were flexible. They kept us posted about the developments by the Planning Committee. This year, it was especially a highly research and drafting intensive competition with formatting playing a key role due to the memorials being the scoring criteria.


8. Any other thing you would like to mention about the moot and how Covid 19 will affect the Moot Court Scenario in upcoming days ?


Space Law is a very upcoming, interesting and niche area of law. We’d suggest upcoming lawyers to definitely explore it. As for the post Covid-19 scenario, we can estimate digitalisation of moots. For International moots, organisers generally prefer physical rounds but if the health situation continues as such, we might see either digital International moots, increased importance of memorials or a physical competition with reduced participation.

It’s our earnest hope that the situation is remedied soon and moot culture continues as usual.


Team Profile :-

Deepika Hungenahally – 4th year (Linkedin)

Interests – Criminal law, Human Rights & PIL.

Previous Mooting Experience – Semi-finalists, ICC Moot Court Competition 2019.


Rithika Mathur, II Year (LinkedIn)

Interests – Dispute Resolution, Competition Law and International Law

Previous mooting experience – Best Memorial and Quarter Finalists,  Rajiv Gandhi National Moot Court Competition, 2019


Toshika Soni, II Year (LinkedIn)

Interests: Public International Law, Maritime Law and Arbitration

Previous mooting experience: Best Team Spirit at Simmons & Simmons-University of Paris Nanterre Day of Crisis Competition 2019


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