The World Finals of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition are taking place in Jerusalem today, as part of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Three judges from the International Court of Justice in The Hague — Judge Peter Tomka of Slovakia, Judge Dalveer Bhandari of India and Judge Kirill Gevorgian of Russia – will preside over the proceedings.

Vice President of Israel’s Supreme Court, Justice Elyakim Rubenstein, will officially open the contest at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law.

Participants include law students, who won regional competitions in North America, Africa, Europe and the Asia Pacific region, debating topics related to law and space.

The subject of the debate this year is a hypothetical scenario in which an asteroid is headed for earth and is intentionally diverted by one nation into international air space where it explodes. The shockwave then produces damage in a second nation. The law students must address how liability is determined and how damages are to be assessed and awarded.

The prestigious Moot Court contest is held under the aegis of the International Institute for Space Law (IISL).