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Public International Air Law

ASPL 633

3 credits
Public International Air Law.

Air & Space Law: Sources of public international law relating to the air space and its aeronautical uses. International aviation organizations and their law-making functions. Legal responses to aviation terrorism.

Offered by: Air and Space Law

  • Terms
    • Fall 2014
  • Instructors
    • Paul Stephen Dempsey

Description: The course in Public International Air Law examines the relevant principles and rules of international law that affect the use of air space and aeronautics. The following topics are reviewed:

  • Public international law : jurisdiction over persons, territory and airspace, law of treaties, settlement of international disputes, incidents of statehood, law of international organisations;
  • sources of international air law;
  • the relevant international aviation organizations and their law-making functions;
  • the law-making institutions and processes affecting the regime of air space and international air navigational and air transport;
  • the legal regime of the national and international air space;
  • the international standards and recommended practices and domestic laws regulating safety, security, air navigation, airports, and the environment;
  • aircraft accident investigation;
  • the concept of civil and state aircraft;
  • State certification and licensing of aircraft and airmen under international standards;
  • the exchange of air traffic rights; and
  • dispute resolution. 

Download the full course outline - fall 2014 [.doc]

Method of Evaluation: Optional essay (20%) and 80% or 100% final 24-hour take-home examination.  The optional 20% will be based on the student’s performance in on a written 10-12 page essay comparing, contrasting and analyzing material discussed in the text with material outside the assigned text.  Examinations and papers shall be double spaced with 12 point font for the text, and 10 point font for the footnotes, with one-inch margins per page.  The optional essay shall be due on the last scheduled day of class.  Late-submitted essays will not be accepted.  Students shall have 24-hours from the time they pick up the examination to complete and submit it.

Professor Information: Paul S. Dempsey. 3690 Peel Street, Suite 203; Tel. 514-398-8370; Email: paul [dot] dempsey [at] mcgill [dot] ca

Office hours: open door; or contact Ms. Maria D’Amico at maria [dot] damico [at] mcgill [dot] ca or 514 398-5095 to arrange for a meeting at mutually convenient day and time. Also, do not hesitate to contact the Professor via e-mail or after class.

Visiting Lecturers: Several visitors have been invited to the class. The dates of their presentations will be announced during the Semester


Additional materials

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: US and Canadian Regulatory Approaches [.pdf]

ICAO/CERG Warsaw Air Law Conference, 5 Sep 2012, Prof. Paul Dempsey

Legal Aspects of Safety Management Systems [.pdf]

ICAO/CERG Warsaw Air Law Conference, 6 Sep 2012, Prof. Paul Dempsey

Air Navigation [.pdf]

The principal issues of air navigation law under the Chicago Convention and its Annexes.

Airport Finance [.pdf]

The revenue and tax streams that fund airport expansion, development and operations.

Air Traffic Rights [.pdf]

The categories of air traffic rights exchanged in bilateral air transport agreements.

Blacklisting: the conflict between national and international standards [.pdf]

The unilateral efforts of the US and EU to blacklist aircraft, airlines and airports for safety and security deficiencies, and the conflict between such unilateral enforcement and the Chicago Convention. Also, safety oversight and audits of member States by ICAO.

The Chicago Convention [.pdf]

An overview of the principal provisions of the Chicago Convention of 1944 governing international civil aviation.

Environmental Law and Sustainability in International Aviation [.pdf]

ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices governing aircraft noise and emissions.

Foreign Ownership and Cabotage [.pdf]

The legal and political issues restricting foreign ownership and cabotage in international aviation.

Government Security Responsibility [.pdf]

The responsibilities of States for the implementation of international security obligations under the Tokyo, Hague and Montreal Conventions.

ICAO: An overview [.pdf]

An overview of the structure, authority, jurisdiction and powers of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Aviation security: the role of international law [.pdf]

The security requirements arising in international aviation under the Chicago Convention, Annex 17, the Tokyo, Hague and Montreal Conventions, the Plastic Explosives Convention, the and Bonn Declaration.

Air & Space Law Norms Governing Space Transportation [.pdf]

The functionalist and spatialist debate between Air Law and Space Law

The Legal Regime Governing Space [.pdf]

The Space Law treaties and their overlap with Air Law conventions.