PUBLISHED:March 31, 2021

Hamilton '21, Severin '21 reach semifinals of moot court tournament focused on space law


The two third-year students were one of 20 teams in the Manfred Lachs North America Space Law Moot Court Competition.

Chase Hamilton '21
Chase Hamilton '21

Two third-year Duke Law School students made it to the semifinal round of a prestigious international space law tournament held virtually in late March.

Chase Hamilton ’21 and Anthony Severin ’21 were one of 20 teams in the Manfred Lachs North America Space Law Moot Court Competition.

Hamilton and Severin defeated the University of Wisconsin School of Law in the quarterfinal round but came up short against eventual champion George Washington University in the semifinals. Their individual brief was the highest scoring of the 40 submitted.

The Manfred Lachs tournament has been held annually by the International Institute for Space Law since 1992. Experts in the field of space law, including academics, judges, and lawyers from the public and private sectors, serve as judges. The winning teams in the regional competitions participate in the international competition later in the year.

Anthony Severin '21
Anthony Severin '21

The competition’s problem this year involved the collision of satellites guided by autonomous navigation software reminiscent of self-driving cars. Competitors faced questions about the standards of conduct governing “mega-constellations” of satellites, the methods of determining liability and responsibility under public international law, and the differences in law governing space activities carried out by developed nations, developing nations, and private entities.

Jonathan Wiener, the William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law and professor of environmental policy and public policy and director of the Duke Center on Risk, served as the team's faculty advisor.