We are excited to invite law students to participate in the Best International Future Lawyer Award competition focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this year. The competition is organised by AIJA, the international association of young lawyers.
The aim of the competition is to develop law students’ understanding of the global development agenda. We want to encourage them to identify international legal frameworks or law approaches in achieving the SDGs.
Submission should consist of a written essay (in English) that explores the role, potential and limitation of international law in achieving the SDGs. Given the cross-cutting nature of the SDGs, submissions should address the three dimensions of sustainable development: environmental, economic and social. The essay can concentrate on one of the 17 SDGs or a mix of these goals. However, don’t feel held back. A strong argumentation that goes beyond the SDGs is also accepted. Ultimately, the essay should respond to the following question:
“If I could change the world…how can I, as a future lawyer, contribute to a more sustainable world?”
Christopher Sawyer’s essay explores the existing, but perhaps inadequate, international legislation vis-à-vis humanity’s use of space and celestial bodies. He shows that although some legislation exists, there are simply not enough controls in place at present to properly govern a colony formed on the Moon.
His essay considers that if a colony was formed off-world, its inhabitants would be from different countries and therefore different legal systems. Without a written legal system, without certainty, legal nuances would be lost and chaos would ensue shortly after inhabitation. Christopher also explores the concepts of citizenship and what this would mean for people who emigrate to the colony and the generations of people born there, as well as different forms of government which could work in controlling the colony (or colonies, as it were).
Christopher graduated from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in September 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in commerce (BCom), with double majors in law and tax. He then pursued a bachelor’s degree in law (LLB) at the same university and graduated in September 2018. In his final year of LLB studies, Christopher took modules on International Law, World Trade Law and International Transport Law. With interests in aviation, science-fiction and law, Christopher hopes to move further into the expanding international, space and commercial legal fields, both academically and in practice.
2017 - “Will the increasing use of technology in law invigorate or diminish legal professionalism as the nature of information in the Digital Society changes?”, Lorraine Chimbga - Read here the essay
2016 - “Governing Shared Natural Resources of the International Seabed Area”, Sharefah Almuhana - Read here the essay
Free AIJA membership until 2022.
Publication of the winner’s name and essay on AIJA’s channels.
Invitation to attend free of charge the 2019 International Young Lawyers’ Congress taking place in Rome, Italy, from 3-7 September. Travel and accommodation will also be covered.
In 2015, 193 UN Member States agreed on a Sustainable Development Agenda document titled “Transformation of our world – 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The 2030 SDG Agenda consists of an ambitious set of 17 goals and 169 targets, and stresses that these are much broader than environmental protection and should be ‘implemented in a manner which is consistent with the rights and obligations of States under international law’. Access to justice and the rule of law are recognised through the 2030 Agenda as enablers of sustainable development. These are mentioned explicitly in SDG16 and embedded implicitly in other goals and targets through references to equality, inclusion and equity, rights, legal frameworks.
If you would like to sponsor the competition, please write an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.