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Institute of Air and Space Law

McGill University's Institute of Air and Space Law has a rich history of education, public service and scholarship. Its loyal graduates today serve in some of the highest legal positions in the bar, the industry, and governmental institutions in some 120 nations around the world. Read more...

Ram Jakhu to head IASL for a year

The Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Ram Jakhu has been appointed Director of the Research Center and the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL), for a one-year term that will begin on June 1, 2016, when the outgoing director, Professor Paul S. Dempsey, will be stepping down.

“Our colleagues Paul Dempsey and Ram Jakhu have carried the IASL to new heights, in a competitive environment in which we have seen other Air and Space Law centers and institutes emerge elsewhere in Europe and America. Through their hard work, the IASL now works closely with international organizations, including the United Nations, on a broad range of public policy, research and educational initiatives addressing the regulatory regime of aviation, and an optimal governance regime for outer space,” said Dean Daniel Jutras. “And we know how vibrant and loyal the IASL alumni community is, increasing the Institute’s visibility around the world.”

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Save the dates

May 10, 2016: Summit on Legal Developments in the Airline Industry

Shanghai, China

Organized by McGill University and the East China University of Political Science & Law.

20 May, 2016: Ninth Annual Conference on International Aviation Law and Insurance

Edinburgh, Scotland

Download the preliminary program [.docx]. Organized by McGill University and PEOPIL.

July 4-8, 2016: Workshop on Aviation Law for Regulators


Organized by McGill University and the Singapore Aviation Academy, this 4-day workshop provides a comprehensive and in-depth coverage on contemporary issues on aviation law for airport regulators and examine how the knowledge can be applied to protect the interests of the various airport stakeholders.  

Upon completion of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Understand contemporary issues in aviation;
  • Understand the legal and regulatory framework;
  • Examine the common and new challenges faced by regulators of airport operators, aircraft manufacturers, air navigation service providers(ANSPs), and airlines;
  • Apply legal knowledge in decision making and protect the public interest of the relevant stakeholders.

The workshop will be taught by Professor Paul Dempsey, Professor Ludwig Webber, and Ms Kate Markhvida.

Download the Aviation Law Workshop description and program [.pdf]

Download the PDF registration file from saa.caas.gov.sg

Congratulations, Md Tanveer Ahmad!

The IASL is pleased to announce that Md Tanveer Ahmad, LLM'10, successfully defended his doctoral thesis on January 21, 2016.

His thesis, which was written under the supervision of Professor Paul Dempsey, is titled “Toward governing emissions from aviation that contribute to climate change and global warming.” Bravo to our newest DCL!

Call for Papers - 4th Manfred Lachs International Conference on Conflicts in Space and the Rule of Law - Montreal, May 27-28, 2016

The Institute of Air and Space Law of McGill University wishes to invite submissions for its 4th Manfred Lachs International Conference on Conflicts in Space and the Rule of Law, which will take place on May 27-28, 2016.

Deadline for abstracts: 31 January 2016

Almost 60 years of exploration and use of outer space have brought unprecedented benefits to mankind. Humanity now depends heavily upon space, and even a single “day without satellites” would have disastrous impacts for everyone on Earth, particularly those who increasingly rely on space assets. In 2014, the global space economy grew by 9% (compared with 2013) and is currently a $330 billion annual economic activity. Space products and services have become indispensable for a wide range of applications.

However, many concerns exist today across a broad spectrum of issues with regard to the exploitation of space natural resources and activities in outer space that impact upon notions of national and global security.  

This 4th Annual Manfred Lachs Conference seeks presentations related to the state of the art in current and future military and security technologies and activities, the development of military policies and doctrines, the challenges and risks they represent in terms of space security, the national exploitation of space natural resources, space sustainability, and the peaceful uses of outer space for the benefit of all. In addition, we invite presentations addressing the adequacy and inadequacy of the current rules of international space law, public international law, and international humanitarian law, with respect to conflict avoidance in outer space.

Download our Call for Papers for the complete description, the themes, procedure and full list of deadlines [.docx].

October 21, 2015: nice day for a photo!

IASL graduate students, professors, and the Dean of Law stopped for a photo. Thank you to all who braved the brisk weather!

September 10-2, 2015 - McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law International Expert Roundtable

Given the increase in the number of nations and non-State actors becoming active in space, and the increased reliance militaries have on space technologies, concerns have grown in recent years that there may be a risk of conflict taking place in space.

There is an urgent need to clarify the rules of international law applicable, especially the prohibition on the use of force and international humanitarian law. Given that no specific international legal instrument exists that effectively deals with this, McGill gathered scholars, government and space operations experts from seven different countries, including Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, and members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

There was a clear consensus on the urgent need to develop a Manual on international law applicable to security activities in outer space, in order to reduce the risk of conflict and constrain State behaviour in the case of a conflict.

Such an international Manual might be developed, under the leadership of  the CRASL,  by scholars and international experts in their individual capacity, free from official State positions, in order to ensure international participation, neutrality and legal objectivity. State engagement would be a part of the process at a later stage; however, clarification on international law cannot be dependent upon the politics of any given moment.

Hosting this Expert Roundtable, and working towards an international Manual on international law applicable to security activities in outer space, are in line with the commitment the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law has to uphold the core principles of the outer space treaty: that all outer space activities must occur in accordance with international law (including the UN Charter),  in the interests of international peace and security and for the benefit of all countries.

We look forward to the unfolding of this important project which will have global impact – and beyond.

International Conference on New Challenges in Space Law

August 28-29, 2015 - Athens, Greece

This conference's main topics were: Rationale and scope of the space treaties • Challenges to the rescue agreement and the liability convention • Challenges to the registration convention • Challenges to the space treaties resulting from new activities • The space treaties and environmental issues • Space exploration and exploitation # 1: the moon and the other celestial bodies • Space exploration and exploitation # 2: the interaction with other legal regimes • Where and how should international space law be made.

Left to right: Dr. Tare Brisibe, Prof. Paul Dempsey, Prof. Ram Jakhu, Dr. George Kyriakopoulos, and Prof. Steven Freeland at the last session, which dealt with Considerations for de lege ferenda.

We thank all the participants for coming!

Find out more about the program, the fees, the speakers and more by visiting the Conference's website.

Great news! Our books can now be purchased online!

We are pleased to announce that publications of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, including the latest volumes of the Annals of Air and Space Law, are now available for purchase online. In cooperation with the McGill Bookstore, these publications can be purchased and delivered to you promptly all with a few clicks of the button. 

Older volumes of the Annals will gradually also be made available for purchase online. Over the coming period, the website will also feature a searchable index for users to find and access individual articles based on the topic and/or name of the author. These developments will prove to be of great convenience to readers and researchers, so we hope you will make the most use of these new features.

To purchase our publications, visit our McGill Bookstore page.

Annals of Air and Space Law

Volume XXXIX (2014) has been published!

Download our Annals Order Form [.pdf] to order copies, or consult the Annals of Air & Space Law - Comprehensive Index (1982-2009) [.pdf]

The deadline to submit an article for Volume XXXX (2015) of the Annals is 31 March 2015.

Celebrating 60 years at the IASL

The Institute of Air and Space Law looks back on a rich history of over 60 years of education, public service and scholarship. Over 900 of its loyal graduates today serve in some of the highest legal positions; at the bar, in the industry; and for governmental and international agencies in some 120 nations around the world. Come and join us at the IASL!