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ECSL Space Law Essay Contest

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ECSL Essay Competition

Essay Competition 2014

12 August 2014
In accordance with ECSL’s objectives, to promote knowledge of and interest in the law relating to space activities through the promotion of research activities, it has been decided by the ECSL Board to inaugurate the first ECSL Essay Competition.
The competition will challenge students to think critically about a particular topic in space law and policy and to present cogent arguments in support of a position. Students will have the valuable opportunity to build upon their own knowledge of space law and policy whilst practising and refining their analytical and research skills.

The subject chosen by the Board for the 1st ECSL Essay Competition is ‘What are the main legal issues raised by space mining?


1. Participation

(i) Eligibility
The Essay Competition is open to all students from ESA Member States currently undertaking a university degree course up to (and including) a Masters degree, in any discipline.

(ii) Registration
Owing to limited resources, the ECSL can only accept a limited number of entries. Those wishing to enter the competition must therefore register on a first-come-first-serve basis. Make sure you are registered before beginning your essay.

Registration will open from the 31st August. Registration will close on 15th November or as soon as the maximum number of applications have been received. Once registration is full a notice will appear on the website.

To register, simply send an email to the ECSL Executive Secretary at who will provide you with a short registration form.

Once registered you will receive a candidate number

2. Format

(i) Language
Essays must be written in English.

(ii) Anonymity
In order to protect anonymity and to ensure a fair process, neither the name of the applicant nor the name of his/her university must appear anywhere in the submitted essay.

Students should instead write their candidate number on the first and last pages.

(iii) Software
Essays should be written using Microsoft Word.

(iv) Length
The body of the essay should not exceed 12 pages (including the footnotes) spaced 1.5, ‘normal’ 1″ margins all around, in Times New Roman, size 12. A covering sheet and bibliography should be added separately. All pages must be numbered.

(v) Plagiarism
Plagiarism is cause for immediate disqualification. You are free to take ideas from copyrighted works (e.g. use the same court decision paragraph for your own analysis), but please do not copy or paraphrase ideas expressed previously by others.

Be sure to provide proper references for any material you cite from other sources and for observations or conclusions derived from others’ work. The ECSL recommends the Bluebook Uniform System of Citation. A helpful guide can be found by following the link on the top right hand side of this page.

3. Deadline

Essays must be submitted by 30th November at 23:59 via e-mail (Word/pdf) to the ECSL Executive Secretary at

4. Assessment

(i) The Jury
The Jury shall be composed of a distinguished panel of professors in the field of space law.

(ii) Assessment Criteria
Participants should seek to fulfil the following assessment criteria in their essays:

– A logical presentation of subject matter and issues presented
– A clear understanding of applicable legal rules
– Evidence of research
– Originality of arguments
– Writing style and grammar

(iii) No Appeals
The decision of the Jury is final. No appeals will be entertained.

(iv) Announcement of Results
Results of the competition will be announced on the ESCL website by 31st January. All participants who submitted essays will be informed via email.

(v) Feedback
Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide individual feedback for each of the essays submitted. Instead, the ECSL will release an model answer (in outline) to participating students after the results are announced.

5. Prizes

Essay competition winners shall be presented with their awards during the ECSL Practitioners’ Forum in the same year the results are announced.

First Prize: Reasonable costs of transport and accommodation to attend the ECSL Practionners’ Forum. The winning essay will be published on the ECSL website.

Second Prize: 2nd Place Certificate, ECSL membership for one year (free admission to the Practitioners’ Forum), special mention at the Forum and in the ECSL Newsletter & a selected publication on space law.

Third Prize: 3rd Place Certificate, ECSL membership for one year (free admission to the Practitioners’ Forum), special mention at the Forum and in the ECSL Newsletter & a selected publication on space law.

6. Further Terms and Conditions of Participation

The ECSL reserves the right to disqualify essays which do not comply with any of the rules above.

Participants accept all responsibility for late, lost, misdirected or illegible entries.

In consideration for the opportunity to enter the ECSL Essay Competition, participants agree to allow ECSL to use their names and essays on the ECSL website.

By entering, participants agree to be bound by these rules and the decisions of the judges and ECSL.

7. Enquiries

For further information, please contact the ECSL Executive Secretary at