The Institute of Air & Space Law and the Centre for Research in Air & Space Law

McGill University's Institute of Air & Space Law and its research arm, the Centre for Research in Air & Space Law, have a rich history of education, public service and scholarship.

Since 1951, the Institute has trained 1,000 specialists in air and space law from all over the world. Today, the IASL is undoubtedly the most prominent and decorated educational and research institution in the world in the domain. 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...

Latest news and announcements

Take a look at our the Events page for past and upcoming events, and the Press Room for past activities and news.

IASL Director Addresses CAPA Americas Aviation Summit

IASL Director Brian F. Havel was presenter and moderator for a panel on North Atlantic airline competition at the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) Americas Aviation Summit in Houston, Texas, on 16 April 2018.  Professor Havel was joined on the panel by Brian P. Hedberg, Director of the Office of International Aviation at the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Tamur Goudarzi Pour, Vice President, Americas, for the Lufthansa Group. CAPA, one of the world’s leading sources of market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry, is headed by Peter Harbison, a graduate of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law.  You can view the panel discussion on CAPA's website.   

IASL celebrates with its Annual Graduate Dinner

IASL faculty and staff (front row) and students of the class of 2017-2018 at the Graduation Dinner

The Institute of Air and Space Law Association (IASLA) held its 67th Annual Graduate Dinner at the McGill Faculty Club on 12 April 2018. This festive event is held annually at the conclusion of the academic year and, true to tradition, students from the graduating class of 2018 were inducted into the Association by IASLA Vice President of External Relations Dr. John Saba and duly awarded their special alumni lapel pins.

Over 60 faculty members, graduates, alumni and friends of the IASL Association attended the celebratory occasion.  It was the first IASLA Annual Dinner since Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel assumed the Directorship of the Institute 1 August 2017. Professor Havel used the occasion to recap many of the highlights of the year as well as to lay out ambitious plans for the coming years.  He noted that his priority in the academic year just ending was to focus on the graduate student experience at the IASL and on enhancing the Institute’s existing good relations with the IASLA. He recalled curricular changes including the arrival of Dr. Donal Hanley as the Institute’s new instructor in aircraft finance, the return of McGill law professor  Richard Janda and ICAO Legal Officer Yaw Nyampong to the teaching curriculum, the new Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law, the new McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition, Phase II of Professor Ram Jakhu’s massive signature project to create a Manual on the International Law Applicable to the Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS), and many other initiatives.  He also thanked IASLA for its work in establishing the Institute’s new permanent internship program. In closing, Professor Havel presented floral bouquets to the Institute’s Senior Administrator, Ms. Maria D’Amico, and the LL.M Class President, Ms. Victoria Frost. Professor Havel noted that he could not have negotiated his first year as Director without the phenomenal support of Ms. D’Amico’s institutional and administrative skills. The standing ovation that then greeted Ms. D’Amico indicated that the audience fully concurred.

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel and IASLA President Ms. Jimena Blumenkron.

Highlighting the evening was the keynote speech by Ms. Lauren Small, who is a proud alumna of the IASL and currently the Director of Quebec Waterways at Parks Canada. Ms. Small enrolled in the Graduate Certificate* programme in 2014, and has enjoyed an illustrious career in public service spanning over two decades.  With an impassioned account of the personal struggles she encountered in the formative years of her education, Ms. Small inspired those present by recalling how she overcame adversity and loss with strong personal convictions and an unwavering commitment to the value of public service.  Ms. Small has worked at Environment Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (now Global Affairs Canada), and the Canadian Space Agency. She played instrumental roles in the drafting of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act, and was the lead Canadian negotiator for the U.S. Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). In recognition of her commitment to cancer care and community service, she was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2002, and decorated with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Ms. Small concluded her talk with an appeal to this year’s graduating class to continue pursuing their interests and passions in the aviation and space domains. Personal conviction, she reminded the students, together with the prestige of their degree from the Institute and the support of the strong network of IASL alumni across the globe, will take them far in their lives and careers.

Ms. Lauren Small, Director of Quebec Waterways at Parks Canada and proud IASL alumna, was the keynote speaker of the evening.

Ms. Jimena Blumenkron, the President of the IASLA, briefly presented the work of the Association over the past year.  In addition to launching a donation campaign to support IASL students in attending air and space law events and conferences, Ms. Blumenkron also announced several upcoming events co-hosted by the Association, including a Business Luncheon with the International Aviation Club of Montreal that took place on 17 May with keynote speaker Mr. Bruno Pasturel, Vice President and AIRBUS Representative in Montreal.

This year’s cohort of over 35 LL.M, DCL, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Trainee, and post-doctoral students includes nationals of over 20 countries.  The geographic and gender diversity, the compact size of classes, and the direct engagement of faculty, all create a close-knit intercultural learning environment of which the IASL is extremely proud and which was at the heart of the Annual Graduation Dinner celebration.

For more pictures of the event, please visit this page.

* The Graduate Certificate attracts many seasoned working professionals who wish to enhance their credentials and add value to their professional expertise with a recognised diploma from the Faculty of Law of McGill University. As of Fall 2018, working aviation and space professionals can also opt for the extended three-year part-time LL.M. programme, which will be launched to cater to those who wishing to obtain a full Masters of Law degree.

IASL and McGill BCL/LLB Students mark their Final Class in International Trade Law 

The Law and Practice of International Trade class of 2018 and the special cake.

Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel, the Director of the IASL, celebrates with his students at the final class of his course in Law and Practice of International Trade.  A special “International Trade” cake was shared, bearing the image of a “ratchet,” which denotes the fact that under the theory of the World Trade Organization tariffs should head in only one irreversible direction – downwards.  That theory, of course, is being unsettled by current U.S. practice. The course in international trade law was made available to IASL students as a “complementary” course in addition to their regular air and space law instruction. In the fall semester Professor Havel will be teaching both of the foundational IASL aviation law courses:  Public Iinternational Air Law and Private International Air Law.

Professor Havel holding up part of the cake to mark the conclusion of the Intl Trade Law and Practice class of 2018.

In memoriam Professor Dr. Michael Milde (1931-2018)

The late Professor Michael Milde at the 65th Anniversary Gala of the Institute in 2016.

With a heavy heart, the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) announces the passing of its former Director Emeritus Professor Dr. Michael Milde.

Prior to his academic career at McGill University, Professor Milde served in various senior legal posts at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for 25 years (1966-1991), including as its Principal Legal Officer and as the Director of the ICAO Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau.  During his time at ICAO, Professor Milde oversaw the negotiation of a number of international conventions and protocols on aviation safety and security, the significance of which resonates to this day.

Having acquired a wealth of experience and expertise in the global regulation of aviation law, Professor Milde was named Director of the IASL in 1989 and held that position until 1998. His continuous efforts to enhance the academic curriculum and to support a broad platform of research culminated in the award to the Institute in 1996 of ICAO’s highest honour, the Edward Warner Award. This prestigious award was bestowed in recognition of the Institute’s “unparalleled contributions to the development of international air law” and the Institute’s “accomplishments in teaching, research and publication [….] as a center of excellence in the field.”  A few years later, in acknowledging Professor Milde’s efforts to advance the study of air and space law from both pedagogical and scholarly perspectives, the Board of Governors of McGill University conferred upon him the title and status of Director Emeritus of the Institute.

Professor Milde receiving the prestigious Edward Warner Award on behalf of the Institute of Air and Space Law from ICAO Council President Dr. Assad Kotaite in 1996 Professor Milde was a prolific scholar who authored dozens of books and articles that  received the highest respect in the academy and beyond.  Among his most distinguished works are International Air Carrier Liability: The Montreal Convention of 1999, and International Air Law and ICAO, the third edition of which was published in 2016 (and which has just appeared in a Russian translation, a development that made him especially proud). Professor Milde served on the editorial board of various academic journals, and for over a decade (1989-2002) he was also the Editor-in-Chief of the Annals of Air and Space Law, the flagship publication of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, the IASL’s research arm.

Professor Milde was a motivating and inspiring educator, known among his students as an “insightful, vigorous, and dedicated teacher of public and private international air law.” He took particular delight in interacting with students, junior academics, and early-career professionals and was happy to provide counseling and advice for those who might be considering a future in the field he loved so passionately.  Even after his official retirement in 2006, Professor Milde continued to write regularly and to work as an independent legal consultant on the multiple issues confronting the aviation sector.  As an unflagging supporter of the Institute and its work, Professor Milde’s familiar face and warm nature continued to grace conferences and social gatherings held by the Institute in the years after his retirement.  His keynote address at the Institute’s 65th anniversary dinner in 2016 was a timely reminder of his powerful skills of oratory and storytelling.

Professor Michael Milde was 87, and will be deeply missed by his loved ones and by his colleagues and students who knew this accomplished scholar, professor, and kind human being.  He will also be much missed as an iconic figure in the global aviation law community.

In fall 2018, the IASL will host a special memorial gathering to remember Professor Milde and to celebrate his life and achievements.

We have created a special section of the website where friends, colleagues and students of Professor Milde can share their thoughts and condolences.
If you would like to post a personal message, kuan-wei.chen [at] (subject: Tribute%20to%20Professor%20Michael%20Milde) (please contact the webmaster).

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Professor Milde, please visit the dedicated page or  make sure of this form. Donations to the fund will be used to support graduate students at the Institute of Air and Space Law.

Professor Michael Milde and his wife pictured here at the 65th Anniversary Gala of the Institute in 2016. The third edition of International Air Law and ICAO was presented to the then-IASL Director Professor Ram Jakhu, who is accompanied by Mrs. Jakhu.


Erin J.C. Arsenault Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for 2018-19

As in the previous six years, the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (CRASL) of the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, intends to appoint one or two Postdoctoral Research Fellow(s) during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Postdoctoral Research Fellowship(s) will be funded by the Erin J C Arsenault Trust Fund and the appointment(s) shall be for an initial duration of one year with a possibility of renewal for a second year. The Postdoctoral Fellow(s) will work as part of a research team at the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law under the leadership and supervision of Professor Dr. Ram S. Jakhu, Project Director of McGill’s MILAMOS Project.

Principal objective of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship program is to train the next generation of Space Law professionals interested in pursuing academic careers in Space Law. Accordingly, in addition to completing a major research project (described below), successful candidates, as members of the CRASL team, may also be required to participate in all activities of the CRASL and the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL).

The deadline for receiving applications is 15 May 2018. This full-time position will begin on 1 August 2018 and will last until 31 July 2019. For more information on the Erin J C Arsenault Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2018-2019, please see the attached document.

Beijing Institute of Technology joins the MILAMOS Project

The Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) is very proud to be joining other key stakeholders in the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS). BIT is highly prestigious academic institution in the People’s Republic of China, and its Institute of Space Law is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field within academic and government circles. BIT is also the host institution for the Space Law Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the official resource centre providing legal advice to the Chinese space agency. BIT will be joining Founding Institution McGill University, Partner Organisation the University of Cologne, and a host of global collaborators and stakeholders in Phase II of the three-year project to clarify rules governing the scope of military uses of outer space.

As a Partner, BIT will add great value to the MILAMOS Project by providing Chinese and non-Western perspectives on matters of global interest. The partnership with BIT will provide the Project with valuable institutional support, allow the Project to directly draw from the intellectual expertise in China, as well as provide the Project with a direct conduit to interact and engage with relevant stakeholders and government officials in China. Read more...

IASL Student presents at the ECSL Young Lawyers’ Symposium 2018

Current Erin J. C. Arsenault Fellow in Space Governance and LLM student Ms. Georgia Maria (Yolanda) Kalogirou attended the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) Practitioners’ Forum and the ECSL Young Lawyers’ Symposium 2018. The event, held this year on 23-24 March 2018, at the headquarters of the European Space Agency in Paris, France, is organised annually to provide young professionals and lawyers working in the space sector a forum to network and discuss issues of space law and policy.

Yolanda presented her research on “On-Orbit Servicing and Tacit Consent under International Law” during the Symposium. Her presentation was inspired by Dextre, the Canadian-built robotic handyman on the International Space Station, and its ability to service and refuel satellites in orbit, especially those not built to be refurbished. She examined the applicability of Article 2(7) of the United Nations Charter and Article 20 of the Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts in the context of servicing operations taking place on-orbit.

Prior to pursuing her studies at the Institute of Air and Space Law, Yolanda has worked in law offices and non-governmental organisations both in Greece and abroad, and also completed a summer internship at the Legal Department of the European Space Agency (ESA). Originally from Greece, Yolanda was part of the team that won the World Finals of the 2016 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. Yolanda’s participation at the ECSL Symposium was facilitated by the Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Award (GREAT Award) of the McGill University , which supports graduate students to attend conferences and help with the dissemination of their research. Her participation in the conference gave her the excellent opportunity to exchange opinions with the other speakers and participants of the symposium and gain valuable feedback to fuel her passionate interest in space law.

Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition 2018: McGill Team wins Best Brief

McGill Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court team members David Fox, Victoria Frost, Valérie Bastien-Dupuis, and team coach Aram Kerkonian. The McGill Space Law Moot team took part in the North American Regional Competition of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition on 23-24 March 2018, capturing the award for Best Brief. The team, comprising current LLM students Ms. Victoria Frost (Finland), Ms. Valérie Bastien-Dupuis (Canada), and Mr. David Fox (USA), was coached by current DCL candidate Mr. Aram Daniel Kerkonian (Canada, LLM 2017). After months of intense preparation and trial moots, they competed in Washington, DC, with 18 student teams from all over North America.

This year’s case dealt with the legal consequences of various fictionalized and futuristic outer space activities, including intentional interference with space objects, space mining, and attempts at terraforming the natural environment of Mars. The McGill team advanced to the Quarter Finals and lost by the narrowest of margins to the team from the William & Mary College of Law. But the McGill competitors drew compensation from their great success in winning the award for Best Brief, an achievement that stands in a fine tradition for McGill teams at the Manfred Lachs. 

Congratulations to our excellent McGill team!

The McGill Manfred Lachs team posing with IASL alumni at the North American Regional Rounds, Mr. Milton “Skip” Smith, Ms. Sylvia Ospina, Dr. Andrea Harrington and Mr. Michael Dodge.



McGill Air Law “Speed Moot” Competition successfully launched

        Best Oralist Ms. Elene Tchezhia pleading at the Finals before an esteemed bench composed of IASL Director Professor Brian Havel, Professor Ram Jakhu and Professor Ludwig Weber, who also presided as President of the Court.

The inaugural McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition took place at the McGill Faculty of Law on 23 March 2018. The first rendition of the McGill Air Law Speed Moot was the soft launch of a new sponsored competition that will formally begin in 2019.

Participants Mr. Eric Abrams and Andrew Rintoul receiving the Best Team Award from IASL Director Professor Havel.

The Speed Moot was conceived to provide McGill law students at the undergraduate and graduate levels with the opportunity to grapple with fascinating topics and legal issues in international aviation. Despite having only been announced two months ago, there was a tremendous show of interest in the Competition, and four teams took part in the finals on March 23. Half of the participants were pursuing BCL/LLB studies at McGill and were evidently intrigued by the “transsystemic” possibilities of a moot court competition focused on the niche field of international air law.

Ms. Elene Tchezhia receiving the Best Oralist Award and congratulatory words from IASL Director Professor Brian Havel.

The case in this year’s McGill Air Law Speed Moot concerned the topical and contentious matter of subsidies provided to airlines (The State of McGillia v. the State of Concordia: In the Matter of State Subsidies to Airlines). To maintain the highest standards of fairness and quality, impressive panels composed of faculty members, visiting scholars, seasoned law practitioners, and highly recognised experts working at the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), were involved in judging the competition.

Ms. Melina Alexandra Magazin and Mr. Kevin Hill, both 1L students at the Faculty of Law, took part in their first moot court competition and were praised for their enthusiasm and spirit. After intense preliminary rounds, the strongest two teams went head-to-head in the Grand Final before a bench comprised of IASL Director Professor Brian F. Havel, and IASL Professors Ram Jakhu and Ludwig Weber, with Professor Weber serving as President of the Court.

The Grand Final Bench unanimously selected the highly energetic and articulate Team 1, composed of 2L students Mr. Eric Abrams and Mr. Andrew Rintoul, as team winners. In recognition of her eloquence, composure and command of the law throughout the competition, the judges awarded current LLM student Ms. Elene Tchezhia (who hails from from the Eastern European State of Georgia) the title of Best Oralist.

Also taking part were first year BCL/LLB law students Ms. Malina Alexandra Magazin and Mr. Kevin Hill. Despite not having previously studied public international law or air law, the judges were impressed by the courage, spirit, and enthusiasm displayed by these two participants.

The competition winners were announced at a gala awards ceremony held across the street from the IASL at the James Simon Museum. The participants dined with other VIPs and invited guests to the accompaniment of live jazz music in this eclectic setting – a 23-room mansion that houses the studio and artwork of celebrated Quebec portrait artist James Simon. Mr. Simon himself, with his friend Ms. Jade Pollack, acted as most genial hosts for the evening.

The McGill Air Law “Speed” Moot is unique in the world as there are very limited written submissions and teams make oral arguments only before the simulated International Court of Justice. Each team is allocated a total of 15 minutes for argument and appears in successive rounds either for the appellant or the respondent State. Assessment is based (among other criteria) on the originality and structure of the teams’ arguments and on their ability to respond effectively and flexibly to questions from the bench while maintaining the coherence of their arguments within the tight time-frame allowed. The McGill Air Law Speed Moot is not only an excellent platform for apprentice lawyers to perfect their oral advocacy and public speaking skills; it is a key initiative that will raise the awareness and interest of students at the Faculty of Law, and beyond, about the activities and the work of the Institute of Air and Space Law. In future years, the Competition is expected to attract even more participation among McGill graduate and undergraduate students as it expands with support from external benefactors. The Competition will also continue to enjoy the support and involvement of highly-qualified publicists and professionals in the field of international air law who will serve as neutral arbiters in this prestigious initiative.

Finally, special thanks from all of us at the Institute to the Co-Convenors of the 2018 Competition, IASL LLM students Swarathmika Kumar and Pier-Olivier Turcot. They did an outstanding job of recruiting participants and in ensuring that the Competition ran with total efficiency – including procuring a deeply resonant traditional hand bell that heralded the arrival of the Bench for the Grand Final.

The resounding success of the inaugural McGill Air Law Speed Court would not have been possible without the dedication and efforts of Ms. Swarathmika Kumar and Mr. Pier-Olivier Turcot.

Well done to all the participants for taking part, congratulations again to Eric and Andrew and Elene for capturing the awards at the inaugural Competition, and we look forward to the second rendition of the McGill Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition in 2019.

Participants at the Awards Ceremony and dinner after the successful McGill Air Law Moot Court Competition: (from left to right) Mr. Andrew Rintoul, Mr. Kiran Nair, Ms. Elene Tchezhia, Mr. Chih-Ting Liu and Mr. Rachid Tiroual.

More photographs are available in the designated gallery.

IASL Graduate Dr. Jiefang Huang appointed Director of ICAO Legal Bureau

We are proud to announce that former graduate of the Institute, Dr. Jiefang Huang, has been appointed as the new Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Dr. Jiefang Huang, graduate of the Institute of Air and Space Law, was appointed the Director of the ICAO Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau

Dr. Huang completed his LLM degree at the IASL in 1985, and began his career as an international civil servant at ICAO, the Montreal-based United Nations organization that regulates the safety and security of international civil aviation.  In addition to his many professional commitments, Dr. Huang is actively engaged in the activities of the Institute and its alumni association. He has taught courses at the Institute, and throughout the years has also provided thesis supervision to many of our students. In addition, Dr. Huang is a member of the Editorial Board of the Annals of Air and Space Law, and an External Member of the Board of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law.  In 2009, Dr. Huang received his doctorate in law from Leiden’s International Institute of Air and Space Law. 

As the Director of ICAO’s Legal Bureau, Dr. Huang will play an instrumental role in providing advice and assistance to the ICAO Secretary General and ICAO Member States on matters relating to international law, air law, and other key administrative and procedural matters. This well-deserved appointment is a testament to Dr. Huang’s valuable contributions and dedication to ICAO and the global aviation community.

Originally from China, Dr. Huang is one of many of our graduates who, after obtaining their degree at the IASL, go on to occupy prominent positions at the national and intergovernmental level. Current ICAO Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, is also a graduate of the Institute. In the very words of Dr. Huang, the Institute is “the jewel of the crown in this field”, and a degree from McGill is “regarded as a precious currency fluidly circulated in [the] aviation world”.

We wish Dr. Huang every success in his new role at ICAO!

New course in Aircraft Finance Law offered to IASL students

Dr. Donal Hanley together with Institute of Air and Space Law Director Professor Brian Havel. Dr. Hanley inaugurated a new course in Aircraft Finance Law at McGill.

The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law welcomed Dr. Donal P. Hanley last month to teach a new specialised course in Aircraft Finance Law. Dr. Hanley has 25 years of experience in aircraft leasing and finance law in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is Vice President, Legal, of Aviation Capital Group (ACG), a large aircraft leasing company headquartered in Newport Beach, California, and is Managing Director of its Irish subsidiary, ACG Aircraft Leasing Ireland Limited, based in Dublin. He also serves as a director on the board of ACG’s other Irish and Swedish subsidiaries and was a founder of ACG’s joint venture in Egypt, CIAF Leasing.Dr. Donal Hanley (white bowtie) celebrating the successful defence of his PhD in the presence of, among others, IASL Director Professor Havel (far left), thesis supervisor Professor Peter Haanappel (raised glass), the late Dr. Donald Bunker (in red), IIASL Director Professor Pablo Mendes de Leon, and Cologne Institute of Air and Space Law Director Professor Stephan Hobe.

According to Dr. Hanley, “aircraft finance is one of the most dynamic aspects of global aviation at the moment and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future. Long seen more as a part of finance law, with the majority of commercial aircraft being held pursuant to a lease or financing, aircraft financing law has now evolved into an integral part of air law. In this course, I try to focus students initially on the business concepts of aircraft finance, and then transition from there to the legal structures that implement those concepts.”

As well as holding professional qualifications in each of the jurisdictions where he has worked, and also MBA and LLM degrees, Dr. Hanley received his PhD in international aircraft finance law from Leiden University’s International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL). The IASL Director, Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel, served with the IIASL Director, Professor Dr. Pablo M. J. Mendes de Leon, on the committee that conducted Dr. Hanley’s defence of his PhD dissertation.

We are delighted that Dr. Hanley has joined our teaching faculty. For many years our lectures in aircraft finance law were taught with great enthusiasm and panache by the late Dr. Donald H. Bunker (whose obituary appears on this site), who held a DCL from the Institute and who championed aircraft finance law as a key part of our air law curriculum. We believe that Dr. Hanley, also a gifted lecturer, will be a most worthy successor to Dr. Bunker.

MILAMOS Project enters Phase II and embraces more global partners

We are pleased to announce that the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) has matured and is entering a new phase of expansion. After over 18 months of intense drafting and four consensus-forming and government engagement workshops in various parts of the world, Phase II of the MILAMOS Project will see a streamlining of the work process, and intensified engagement with new global partners succeeding the University of Adelaide and the University of Exeter, which have recently elected to conclude their participation in the Project. These new McGill-led efforts will ensure the Project steadily progresses toward maintaining the original objectives and scope of the Project as well as its the scheduled completion date of 2019.

With support from several international partners and stakeholders, the MILAMOS Project was originally conceived and publicly inaugurated at McGill University in May 2016. The Project aims to develop a widely-accepted manual that clarifies the fundamental rules applicable to military uses of outer space by both States and non-State actors in times of peace, in periods of rising tensions, and in times of armed conflict. From the outset, the Manual was never intended to be drafted solely for the benefit of military operators “in the field”. The McGill Manual was conceived as a comprehensive expression of the lex lata (the law as it is) for use by a wide spectrum of space operators and stakeholders with an interest in the security and sustainability of space activities, rather than solely as a field manual for military operations. The value of the Manual will be its relevance and salience to States, militaries, private space actors, civil society, academics and other relevant stakeholders with an interest in the orderly conduct of space activities, and that original conception will be sustained in Phase II of the MILAMOS Project.

The Project has already gathered the support and endorsement of various stakeholders and governments around the world, and has gained widespread attention in the international media. To date, McGill University has played a leading role in garnering the necessary financial and human resources to initiate and sustain the MILAMOS Project. An International Group of Experts, comprised of individuals with recognised expertise who are representative of the international community at large, is already actively involved in the drafting of the McGill Manual, and rule-drafting workshops and State engagement events have been held in Canada, Australia, India, and the United States of America. Having provided funding of over $400,000 in the MILAMOS Project to date, McGill remains fully committed to the original vision and mission of the McGill Manual to be a neutral, inclusive, innovative, interdisciplinary, and representative clarification of the applicable law that enjoys the endorsement of States from around the world. The Government of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), ROOM, The Space Journal, and the Erin JC Arsenault Fund at McGill University have been instrumental in providing most of the resources for the MILAMOS Project.

A truly global partnership of stakeholders and representation of perspective will be crucial to the ultimate success and acceptance of such an ambitious international endeavour. New partners, including institutions and expertise from Russia, China and other non-Western States, are actively being engaged to ensure the McGill Manual accurately captures the nuances and perspectives of different States and stakeholders, and is reflective of the wide spectrum of interests and concerns relating to the military uses of outer space. Only by embracing partners around the globe will the manual-drafting and consensus-forming process and the resultant Manual achieve the intended objective of being an accepted, authoritative and instrumental document in shaping the security and sustainability of activities in outer space.

More information on the progress and developments surrounding Phase II of the MILAMOS Project will follow shortly.

Prof. Dr. Ram S. Jakhu
MILAMOS Project Director

IASL’s New Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law

The new IASL Colloquium Series[1] in Air and Space Law has hosted four events in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Former U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, Jeffrey N. Shane with IASL Director Professor Brian Havel.On 26 October 2017, John R. Byerly, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs at the Department of State, presented insights into the conduct of aerodiplomacy from his vantage point as the former chief of air services negotiations for the U.S. State Department.  Mr. Byerly particularly shared his experience of the lengthy process that led to the 2007 U.S./EU Air Transport Agreement which, together with its 2010 Protocol, remains the most ambitious open skies bilateral agreement ever signed.

On 9 November 2017, air transport consultant Chris Lyle, whose career at the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) encompassed several key portfolios including economic regulation, did his remarkable modified “pecha kucha”[2] slide presentation (i.e., 60 slides for about 60 seconds each) on Brexit and aviation. The UK Government, it seems, remains at war with itself about the shape and consequences of the UK’s future relationship with the European Union and air transport is caught in that vortex of indecision and uncertainty.

In the Winter Semester, on 25 January 2018, the general counsel of the Montreal- and Geneva, Switzerland-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) and former U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, Jeffrey N. Shane, enthralled students with his “insider” perspective on IATA’s litigation docket, which currently includes two amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. He also laid out the breadth of IATA’s landscape of law-related activities and initiatives including its standard-setting machinery (the e-ticket, for example).Participants attending the colloquia of Mr. Michael Gill, IATA’s Director for Aviation Environment and Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).

Most recently, on 8 February 2018, we were joined by Mr. Shane’s fellow Geneva-based colleague, Michael Gill, who is both IATA’s Director for Aviation Environment and also Executive Director of the aviation industry’s cross-sectoral coalition for environmental sustainability, the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). Mr. Gill gave our students a “deep-dive” exposure to the emergence and planned introduction of the “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the multilateral aircraft emissions reduction measure that has been adopted by ICAO.

More Colloquia will follow, including speakers discussing future convergences between the governance regimes for air and space.

More pictures from the Colloquia to date can be found on the Events section of the website.


[1] Colloquium: a conversation in an academic setting in which specialists address a specific topic and answer questions relating to that topic; distinguished from a Symposium, originally a drinking party but now used to describe a more formal academic conference in which multiple scholarly papers are presented and discussed; a Seminar is also a more formal academic setting, usually involving the presentation of a single scholarly paper; in our IASL Colloquium, if the speaker is scheduled beyond 5 p.m., a glass of wine is usually served, thereby blending the Colloquium with the original idea of the Symposium


[2] “Pecha kucha” is a PowerPoint presentation methodology that limits the speaker to 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each.  See  Too inflexible (and gimmicky) for law-focused presentations, in our view. We much prefer Mr. Lyle’s approach.


In Memory of Dr. George S. Robinson

With tremendous sadness, we regret to announce that Dr. George S. Robinson passed away on 4 February 2018.

For over four decades, Dr. Robinson dedicated himself to public service, the space law profession, and education. The recipient of the first Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) degree in space law awarded by the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, Dr Robinson worked as legal counsel at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Dr. Robinson worked tirelessly to advance interest and research in international and national space law and policy, and is well-known for organising conferences on forward-looking legal and practical topics in space. As a reflection of his brilliance and foresight, and underpinned by the strong belief that biological evolution and space migration are instrumental to the survival of humankind, he conceived and initiated a unique symposium addressing legal and bio-medical aspects of a future space society.

In his long, rich and illustrious career, Dr. Robinson also served as an international relations specialist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where he was Desk Officer for developing collaborative research and educational programmes with Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, and Pakistan. Upon leaving the Smithsonian Institution in 1995, Dr. Robinson established (with his sons and daughter-in-law) the firm of Robinson & Associates Law Offices, P.C. (now Robinson and Robinson, LLC), a domestic and international law practice specialising in the laws of corporations, intellectual property and space commerce. Despite his professional commitments, Dr. Robinson served on the board of directors of various science research facilities, foundations, and hospitals, and dedicated himself to educating and inspiring future generations. Throughout the years, Dr. Robinson taught and lectured in law and business at numerous universities in the United States and elsewhere. He authored over 100 articles and books on a broad range of subjects, including public and private international law relating to space activities, space commerce, and aviation law; science/technology law, maritime law and policies relating to oceanography and limnology; the law relating to conservation of land, critical habitats, and animal and plant species; terrestrial and oceanographic environmental law, and business law. Dr. Robinson was a prolific contributor to the IASL’s flagship journal, Annals of Air and Space Law, producing many insightful and enriching articles that outline philosophical ideas and visions of the space governance system that are well beyond our time.

Even after leaving the IASL, Dr. Robinson was a proud alum and remained a great friend and supporter of its mission and work. He found great pleasure in interacting with students at the Institute, often going to great lengths to assist emerging scholars and professionals with their research and connecting their with opportunities in the aviation and space law fields. In recognition of Dr. Robinson's unique contributions to the study of space law, the Institute established the George S. and Ann K. Robinson Prize for Excellence in Space Law to support innovative and original contributions to space jurisprudence. Dr. Robinson was one of an elite group of space lawyers who was far ahead of his peers in imagining and envisioning life and human evolution in the 21st Century and beyond.

George Robinson was a mentor and friend to all of us at the IASL. The international space law community has lost an extraordinary and visionary scholar. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

Professor Brian Havel
Director, Institute of Air and Space Law


The McGill Faculty of Law magazie, Focus, carried an interview with the late Dr. Robinson, who offered some anecdotes about his life at McGill and what inspired him to pursue studies in air and space law.

In memory of Dr. Robinson and his tremendous contributions to education and the study of space law, you can support the George S. and Ann K. Robinson Prize for Excellence in Space Law using the attached donation form.

Remembering Donald H. Bunker

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear colleague Professor Dr. Donald Harry Bunker, on January 25, at the age of 77 in his home, following a brief illness. As Adjunct Professor, Dr. Bunker was always happy to return to Montreal every year and teach Aviation Finance at the Institute, where he declared he had "so many livelong friends (...) which [brought] [him] back all the time". He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

The 11th McGill University/PEOPIL Conference on International Aviation Law, Liability, Insurance and Finance

19-20 October 2018

The dedicated conference page is now available.

We look forward to welcoming you in October 2018 in Dublin, Ireland.

This event will bring together world-Leading aviation liability, insurance & finance experts to address the following topics:

  • Comparative Jurisprudence under the Warsaw System and the Montreal Convention of 1999 
  • Liability of Airlines, Airports, Maintenance Providers & Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs)
  • Products Liability of Manufacturers Aircraft, Engines & Component Parts
  • Governmental Liability
  • Challenges of Settlement
  • Consumer Protection Regulation & Litigation
  • Unruly Passengers and Liability for Acts of Unlawful Interference
  • Accident Investigations, Annex 13 & Criminalization of International Aviation
  • Regulation of Drones and Liability of Operators
  • Aircraft Leasing and Finance

In addition, the conference will host a luncheon and reception/dinner to facilitate networking between attorneys, insurers, air carriers, manufacturers and governmental representatives.

The preliminary version of the programme and registration form are now available.

Prior conferences

Toulouse 2008

Montreal 2009

Amsterdam 2010

Montreal 2011

London 2012

Montreal 2013

London 2014

Montreal 2015

Edinburgh 2016

Montreal 2017


Publications of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law available through WS Hein

 The Centre for Research in Air and Space Law is proud to announce our new partnership with WS Hein to streamline the publication, marketing and distribution of the Centre’s publications.

In the coming period, all of the Centre’s past, present and future publications, including the Centre’s flagship publication, the Annals of Air and Space Law, will be available for purchase or for reading at the click of a button on HeinOnline’s website.

Keep reading...


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!