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...

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

Festivities and Reflections at the 68th IASL Association Graduation Dinner - April 2019

Students of the graduating IASL class of 2018/2019 with Institute Director Professor Brian Havel and Professor Ram Jakhu.

On 25 April 2019, the Institute of Air and Space Law Association (IASLA) held its 68th Annual Graduation Dinner in the splendid setting of the McGill Faculty Club. For close to seven decades, this annual festive event, held at the conclusion of every academic year, marks the induction of new members of the graduating class into the Association, which connects over 1100 Institute graduates all over the world. This year, in the most diverse and cosmopolitan class in the Institute’s history, 20 students from 19 different countries joined as new members of this this ever-growing and exclusive club of air and space law professionals.

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel addressing the attendees of the 68th IASL Association Graduation Dinner.Close to 70 faculty members, graduates, alumni and friends of the Association attended the special occasion, the second Graduation Dinner presided over by Institute Director Professor Brian F. Havel. The Director used the occasion to recap highlights of the past years as well as to outline ambitious plans in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the Institute in 2021, which coincides with the bicentennial of McGill University. He reported that the well-received Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law continued this academic year with prominent aviation and space professionals and officials, including Dr. Fang Liu, the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, and the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Capt. Aysha Al-Hameli. In broadening the professional skillsets of graduate students, the Institute partnered with award-winning Qatar Airways to inaugurate the Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition and the inaugural Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference, which attracted media attention worldwide. He also noted major international moot court victories by this year’s IASL students in the Manfred Lachs and Leiden-Sarin space and air law competitions, respectively. In terms of research, the project to draft the Manual on the International Law Applicable to the Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) was presented before the delegates of the United Nations General Assembly by Professor Ram Jakhu, highlighting the wide interest and acceptance of the mission and vision of the Manual Project which enjoys the support of over 30 experts and institutions across the globe. The Director also reviewed the Institute’s expanding series of permanent internship opportunities. Along with successive internship agreements inked over the two years since he assumed the Directorship, in March, the Institute recently signed a memorandum of understanding to provide Institute graduates with the opportunity of interning at the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA).

In his lively address to the assembled graduates and attendees, Professor Havel took the opportunity to express appreciation to faculty members and sessional lecturers who taught at the Institute, including Adjunct Professor Dr. Yaw Nyampong for assuming responsibilities for the Space Law: General Principles course while Professor Ram Jakhu was on sabbatical, Adjunct Professor Professor Ludwig Weber, who taught Comparative Air Law, and Professor Richard Janda and Professor Joseph Wilson, who jointly taught the Government Regulation of Air Transport course. Much to the delight of students, world-renowned aircraft finance expert and Leiden International Institute of Air and Space Law doctoral graduate Dr. Donal Hanley returned to offer a two-week intensive course in the Winter semester. Amidst warm applause from the students, Professor Havel announced that Dr. Hanley will be joining the Institute as an Adjunct Professor in the new academic year. Noting that IASL Senior Administrator Maria D’Amico was absent through illness, only the second time she has missed the Dinner in over 40 years, Professor Havel celebrated the extraordinary contribution that Maria has made to the success of the Institute: “Maria truly epitomises the concept and benefits of phenomenal institutional memory and total institutional loyalty”, he observed.

Ms. Lucy Hidalgo Figueroa, the class president of the 2018/2019 LLM class. The LLM and students and graduate trainees of 2018/2019 represent a microcosm of the world aviation community, and come from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Germany, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United States. Ms. Lucy Hidalgo Figueroa, the class president of the 2018/2019 LLM class (who originally hails from Honduras and Spain), delivered an address that recalled the triumphs and tribulations of this year’s cosmopolitan class (including a mention of Montreal’s longer than usual winter). Dr. John Saba, long-term IASL Association Vice President of External Relations, joined IASL Association Treasurer Julius Dunton in inducting the new graduates with distinctive alumni lapel pins. Soon these new members of our closely-knit community of professionals and academics will receive new credit card-format membership cards that they can carry with them and show around the world with great pride.

Accomplished IASL alumni can be found on all continents, many of whom occupy prominent positions in the legal profession, in industry, in academia, and at intergovernmental organisations and government institutions. Indeed, admission to the Institute’s rigorous certificate, graduate and doctoral level programmes is highly competitive. Every year, only a select group of students who possess the requisite academic credentials, ambition and passion for the fields of air and space law are admitted to the Institute. After two intense semesters, and having successfully navigated through libraries of study materials and overcome challenging assignments, exams, moot courts, simulations, and extracurricular events, it is no wonder the students were in a mood to proudly celebrate their journey to their Institute credentials.

The highlight of the Graduation Dinner was the keynote address by accomplished IASL alumna Dr. Marie Lucy Stojak. A native of Montreal, Dr. Stojak has been a long-term friend and loyal supporter of the Institute. Since obtaining her doctoral degree from the Institute in 1986, Dr. Stojak has accumulated an inspiring list of accolades and accomplishments as a space law expert and representative of Canada in various international venues. With years of experience in developing international, interdisciplinary and intercultural educational programmes, Dr. Stojak directed the summer session of the International Space University (ISU). Notably, she is currently the Director of the School on Management of Creativity and Innovation at HEC Montréal. In recognition of her diplomatic career, leadership skills and ability to bring together and foster dialogue among different sectors of the economy and society, Dr. Stojak was the natural candidate to be handpicked to chair the recently revived Space Advisory Board of the Government of Canada. The Space Advisory Board is the government body comprising key industry, civil society and research community stakeholders that advises the Canadian federal Government on long-term objectives in the development of the Canadian space sector. In this key role, Dr. Stojak reminded the attendees of the vision of Canadian space pioneer John H. Chapman, who with great foresight wrote in 1967 that “[in] the second century of Confederation, the fabric of Canadian society will be held together by strands in space just as strongly as railway and telegraphy held together the scattered provinces in the last century”. Indeed, Canada is today a global leader in space robotics, telecommunications, and remote sensing, which have contributed greatly to the social and economic wellbeing of Canada and the world at large, and which will continue to form the foundation of the new space strategy for Canada.

IASL Professor Ram Jakhu thanking Dr. Lucy Stojak for an inspiring keynote speech at the IASL Association Graduation Dinner.

Taking the audience in a retrospective and captivating journey as a traveller through time, Dr. Stojak narrated her past experiences as well as her projections of the marvels to be expected in the future. As they are about to venture into the professional and highly competitive world, Dr. Stojak wisely and with great humility reminded the new graduates not to underestimate the great value of serendipity, the importance of people one meets on life’s journey, and the need to treasure human connections. A degree from a recognised world-class institution such as the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law has even greater value when one considers priceless lifelong friendships built in the lecture halls and during extracurricular activities. Meeting and networking with IASL alumni from across the years and in all walks of life add can be life- and career-changing. In this increasingly interconnected world, Dr. Stojak urged the students to be brave and to take risks as they move forward in their lives and careers, and to not forget to give back to future generations of rising aviation and space law professionals and academics. Most importantly, while enjoying successes and accomplishments, Dr. Stojak underlined, to the great appreciation of the audience, the value of not forgetting to live, and not neglecting to invest in life and in human relations. It was a beautiful and memorable speech from an accomplished alumna that will resonate with the IASL graduates of 2018/19 and with those who follow them. Dr. Stojak opened her address by suggesting that students do not remember who gave the keynote speech at their graduations, or its content, but the IASL graduating class manifestly disagreed with her humble assessment!

Qatar Airways/McGill Moot Competition and Rising Scholars Conference Take Off With Resounding Success - March 2019

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel shaking hands with Professor Ram Jakhu at the opening of the inaugural Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference. The Conference provide a current students and young professionals the opportunity to present their innovative ideas and research proposals before industry experts and academics in the fields of air law and space law.

A packed two days saw students at McGill University participate in the first Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition and the inaugural Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference on 22-23 March 2019. The tremendous success of the two back-to-back events, made possible with the generous contribution and support from award-winning airline Qatar Airways, underlines the shared commitment of both partners to invest in and cultivate future aviation leaders.

Earlier this year, Qatar Airways and McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) reached a sponsorship agreement to co-organise the moot court competition and conference. These twin events aim at providing masters and doctoral students with concrete opportunities to enhance their oral advocacy skills and to present their research on cutting edge issues to a wide audience of aviation and space law professionals.

“The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law is delighted to enter this innovative educational partnership with Qatar Airways, one of the world’s leading air carriers”, IASL Director Professor Brian F. Havel said. “Our first priority as an Institute is the professional development of our highly accomplished students, and both the Qatar Airways/McGill moot court competition and the Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law conference enable us to offer exciting new programmes that showcase our students as future leaders of the global civil aviation community”.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, stated that “Qatar Airways is extremely proud of our new strategic collaboration with the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University, which is renowned for developing aviation professionals that hold some of the highest positions in international organisations, governments, airlines, and law firms around the world”.

The intramural air law moot was soft launched in 2018 to provide McGill law students at the undergraduate and graduate levels with the opportunity to grapple with fascinating topics and legal issues in aviation. This year, the partnership with Qatar Airways ensured the continued interest in the mooting competition, which was brilliantly choreographed by moot court coordinator LL.M student Ms. Harshita Khera, from India. The competing moot teams registered for the unique opportunity to argue (on both sides) in an intricate case concerning drone incursion into public airport facilities. In maintaining the highest standard of fairness, a select pool of judges comprising aviation professionals at Qatar Airways, McGill faculty members, seasoned law practitioners, and recognised experts working in the aviation industry were invited to adjudicate the competition. Unique to the Qatar Airways/McGill moot, the ratio between participants and judges is almost one to one, thereby ensuring the quality and impartiality of this annual competition.

After intense preliminary rounds, the teams of IASL graduates Ms. Polly Averns and Ms. Nivedita Raju and of 3L students Mr. Eric Abrams and Mr. Andrew Rintoul proceeded to the Grand Final, which was held in the majestic Leo Yaffe Billiards Room of the McGill Faculty Club. The Grand Final bench comprised Qatar Airways’ Senior Vice President of Aeropolitical and Corporate Affairs, Mr. Fathi Atti, the Deputy General Counsel of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Mr. Carlos Tornero, and IASL Director and Professor Brian F. Havel, who served as President of the Court. The Grand Final bench unanimously agreed that the sound legal arguments, poise and eloquence of Ms. Averns and Ms. Raju had the edge over the other team. Ms. Raju was additionally decorated with the Best Oralist Award, while IASL graduate student Mr. Adam Mudge won the Spirit of the Moot Award – awarded by vote of the court clerks – for demonstrating laudable camaraderie and professionalism throughout the competition.

Trophies and prizes participants at the Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot compete for.

A gala dinner and award ceremony followed where students, professionals, and executives from Qatar Airways had the opportunity to mingle and socialise. As a prelude to the elegant events of the evening, participants and invited guests enjoyed fast-paced videos highlighting the stellar rise and achievements of Qatar Airways, as well as presenting Qatar as a growing tourist destination. Mr. Atti of Qatar Airways, the key person and visionary who eagerly pushed for more entrenched relations with the Institute, presided over the award ceremony with Professor Havel. True to the celebratory mood of the evening, Professor Havel unveiled the exciting news that, with the continued sponsorship of Qatar Airways, from 2020 the moot competition will be open to law schools across North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico).

Speakers at the inaugural Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference. On Saturday 23 March, students and junior scholars and professionals associated with the Institute convened for the inaugural Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference. The event, coordinated by Ms. Raju, was held at the EVO Plaza Centre-Ville, which is appropriately located across the street from the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Opening the conference were Professor Havel and Qatar Airways’ distinguished representative Mr. Atti, who both reminded participants of the importance of blending academic scholarship with practical industry experience. The Dean of the McGill School of Continuing Studies, Dr. Carola Weil, delivered a video greeting expressing the hope that the conference could inspire similar gatherings in other McGill faculties, and her colleague Associate Dean Dr. Carmen Sicilia was present to convey greetings on behalf of the School’s advanced programmes in aviation management and global aviation leadership.

Spread over four sessions, designated as New Thinking in Air Law I and II and New Thinking in Space Law I and II, and each dealing with a wealth of issues and topics in these twin domains of the Institute’s work, were close to 30 student and recent alumni presentations. Among the cutting-edge topics chosen by students and rising scholars were presentations on the legal and regulatory regime for future autonomous flying taxis, the accommodation of disabilities in the airline industry, the global coordination of aerospace operations, legal issues and challenges surrounding active space debris removal, the risk of cyberattacks against space assets, and the consequences for aviation following Brexit. Ms. Raju, as general rapporteur of the conference, will oversee publication of the conference proceedings in the Institute’s flagship academic publication, the biannual Annals of Air and Space Law. The current Editor of the Annals, Mr. Bruno Savoie, was on hand to announce this excellent initiative at the outset of the conference.

Proud winners of various categories of awards presented at the inaugural Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference. Between panel sessions were a number of expert commentaries beginning with a presentation by Mr. Gilles Doucet, a space security consultant and the Lead Technical Expert in the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS), who outlined the challenges that technology poses to the regulation of space activities. Université de Montréal Professor Jérôme Beaugrand-Champagne also addressed the audience on issues in the burgeoning aviation market of China. During lunch, Professor Havel conducted an informal roundtable with two rising aviation professionals, Mr. Julian Rotter, the Director of International Affairs at the Polish Civil Aviation Authority, and recent IASL graduate Mr. René David-Cooper, who is Corporate Advisor/Air Investigations at the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Their personal anecdotes and experiences as young professionals in a competitive job market provided exemplary models for graduates and rising scholars seated in the room. Mr. Rotter saluted the IASL student presenters as “rising leaders” as well as “rising scholars”.

Those attending the conference, therefore, including distinguished guests and representatives from Qatar Airways, had the opportunity to enjoy a broad spectrum of engaging and interesting presentations and panels across numerous disciplines, attesting to the truly global nature of McGill’s institute and its thinking.

Session moderators Professor Havel, Professor Ram S. Jakhu, Dr. Paul Fitzgerald, and Mr. Doucet, together with representatives of Qatar Airways, were members of a blue-ribbon panel that selected which presenters were deserving of special recognition. At the dinner and awards ceremony organised at the intimate and artistic environs of the Musée James Simon Museum, Ms. Andrea Buitrago-Carranza was awarded the Most Innovative Research Award, Mr. Juan Puerta won the Best Air Law Presentation Award, Mr. Neil Wolf was recognised with the Best Space Law Presentation Award, and Mr. Torridon Linskaill – for a brilliant exposé of the aviation consequences of Brexit – won the Best Overall Presentation Award. Mr. Adam Mudge, again in recognition of his professionalism and camaraderie, was recognised by a vote of his peers for a second “Spirit” award, this time the Spirit of the Conference.

McGill University and Qatar Airways are both extremely pleased with the quality of oral pleading during the Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition, and the stimulating ideas and proposals, as well as the high standard of oral presentation, on display at the Qatar Airways/McGill Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference. The intense events over two days, coupled with the personal attendance of recognised aviation professionals from Qatar Airways and the aviation and space industries, were driven by the strong belief in the value of providing students, future legal practitioners, and emerging academics with opportunities to showcase their capacities for new thinking and their evolving skills in the fascinating fields of air and space law, as well as with unmatched opportunities for networking with established leaders, experts, and academics. “The presence and active participation by the Qatar Always experts and officials were extremely useful for our students to learn about the [practical] issues of airlines”, Professor Jakhu said, “Both Qatar Airways and the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law make very good partners to collaborate in education, research, consulting and outreach activities related to the practical aspects of aviation industries”.

Education at a world-class institution like McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law places great emphasis on a well-rounded and holistic learning environment. “As aviation plays a vital role in uniting peoples, cultures and economies, we need to continue to nurture the brightest minds and leaders for a dynamic air and space sector that will face increasingly complex aeropolitical challenges”, H. E. Mr. Al Baker of Qatar Airways stated, “That is why Qatar Airways is committed to supporting the next generation of aviation industry leaders at McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law”.

The valuable partnership with global industry leader Qatar Airways in organising co-curricular pre-professional activities, such as the moot competition and the Rising Scholars conference, will equip our accomplished and cosmopolitan students, who each year represent more than 20 different nationalities, with the skills and practical experience to thrive as effective advocates, practitioners, diplomats, and expert consultants throughout the ever-challenging domains of air and space law and policy.

Proud winners and finalists of the Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition 2019.

IASL Inks Internship MOU with Global Airline Pilots Organisation IFALPA - March 2019

Captain Ron Abel, President of IFALPA, and Professor Brian F. Havel, Director of the IASL, at the signing ceremony to establish the new internship programme.

Thursday 28 March 2019 marked the beginning of an exciting partnership between the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) and the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA). Captain Ron Abel, President of IFALPA, and Professor Brian F. Havel, Director of the IASL, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Institute’s McGill suite to establish a new internship programme for IASL students as well as graduates who have completed the IASL’s LLM programme within three years. Mr. Christoph Schewe, Managing Director of IFALPA in Montreal, was also present for the signing.

The internship will offer IASL students the opportunity to apply their legal, business, and administrative knowledge over a three-month period each year, assisting IFALPA in achieving its mission as the global voice of the airline pilot profession. IFALPA is a not-for-profit international organisation representing over 100,000 pilots in nearly 100 countries. In providing representation and support to members and the aviation industry as a whole, the mission of IFALPA is to promote the highest level of aviation safety worldwide, and to be the global advocate of the piloting profession.

This internship programme, together with many co-curricular and extracurricular events and opportunities that have been created since Professor Havel assumed the Directorship, affirms the Institute’s commitment to provide its graduates with opportunities to enhance their professional skill-set and gain a solid advantage over other graduates entering a highly competitive industry. Other internship opportunities have been established with several Montreal-based aviation organizations including Airports Council International and Air Canada, and more will be finalised in the coming months. Establishing partnerships with stakeholder institutions in the air and space industries reflects the IASL’s continuing mission to foster the talents of our exceptional students and to advance their pre-professional training as a complement to the world-class education they receive during their time at the Institute.

At the well-attended signing ceremony, Captain Abel stated that IFALPA “is proud to embark on this partnership with McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law.” The Federation, he added, “has the vital task of helping to shape international aviation safety and security standards in partnership with the aviation law experts of the future. Aviation is a tremendous industry that helps fuel the global economy and its primary component is people.” “With this agreement,” Captain Abel concluded, “we are furthering our commitment to developing the next generation of aviation professionals.”

Professor Havel welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between IFALPA and the IASL, noting that the internship – which will include the opportunity to work with affiliated pilot unions of IFALPA – “will enable Institute students to gain professional experience in a major representative association where fascinating legal and policy issues, both national and transnational, are confronted every single day.”

The ceremony concluded with brief remarks by Mr. Torridon Linskaill (LLM 2019), currently the IASL internship liaison officer, who expressed the appreciation of his student colleagues to IFALPA for creating the new internship, noting that they were looking forward to helping IFALPA in its mission of “ensuring that those charged with keeping the skies safe have a strong global voice.”

Please click here to see the official IFALPA press release.

McGill Team wins North American Rounds of Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot - March 2019

Members of the McGill Manfred Lachs Moot Competition team, Ms. Polly Averns, Ms. Nivedita Raju, and Mr. Mike Bilodeau with their team coach Mr. Aram Kerkonian, posing with their winning plaque and Mr. Nathan Johnson, the organiser of the North American Regional Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot.

The North American Regional Rounds of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition took place in Washington DC, United States, on 29-30 March 2019. The team representing the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law was crowned the winner of the Regional Rounds, and also took home the prestigious Best Brief Award.

The triumphant team fielded by McGill comprised Ms. Polly Averns (England/Canada), Ms. Nivedita Raju (India), and Mr. Mike Bilodeau (New Zealand/Canada), and was coached by current DCL candidate Aram Daniel Kerkonian. Just a week earlier, Ms. Averns and Ms. Raju won the Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Competition, in which Ms. Raju was also decorated with the Best Oralist Award.

The 2019 Manfred Lachs moot case concerns the legal consequences of various fictionalised and futuristic outer space activities, particularly in relation to the use of space resources for military purposes. The McGill team was one of 21 teams competing in the North American regionals, and one of 8 teams to proceed beyond the preliminary rounds. In the quarter finals, the team won by a narrow margin over New York University and followed up that success with a semi-final win over the United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College. The McGill team then came face-to-face with worthy opponents from George Washington University in the finals of the North American regionals. With great confidence, poise, and excellent command and presentation of the facts and legal arguments, the McGill team delivered a compelling narrative for the final round bench and they were declared winners of this exciting and tightly-contested competition.

“I want to wholeheartedly congratulate the team on an exceptional job this past weekend and for their dedication and perseverance over the last few months,” said Mr. Kerkonian, proud coach of the McGill team. “As a former participant, I understand the demands of preparing for, and performing in, such a competition and commend the team on a job well done. They were challenged by various teams from across North America but rose to the occasion in each and every round, returning the North American championship back to McGill University's Institute of Air and Space Law!”

The distinguished McGill team will now proceed to the World Finals, where they will compete against the formidable winners of the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Africa regional competitions. The World Finals will take place during the 70th International Astronautical Congress, which this year will take place in Washington DC at the end of October.

Well done, Polly, Nivi, and Mike! As “envoys of McGillkind,” you have made the Institute and the Faculty of Law extremely proud of your triumphant achievements.

Artificial Intelligence and Space Law presentation at the University of Helsinki - March 2019

Participants at the University of Helsinki Workshop on International Law and State Responsibility in Territories Beyond National Jurisdiction (photograph by Kimmo Nuotio)

On 25 March 2019, the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki and the Erik Castrén Institute for International Law and Human Rights held the inaugural workshop titled “International Law and State Responsibility in Territories Beyond National Jurisdiction”. The focus of the one-day event was on “Private and Autonomous Operations in the Artic, High Seas and Outer Space”. Executive Director of the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, Mr. David Kuan-Wei Chen, was among the many speakers and participants invited to contribute to this innovative event aimed at fostering dialogue between experts and academics working in various domains of international law.

The workshop was convened and co-organised by Dr. Elena Cirkovic (Associate Professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics-St. Petersburg) and Ms. Jenni Tapio (Ph.D. candidate, University of Helsinki). With the aim to initiate a platform for bringing together an international and interdisciplinary group of experts to discuss some of the most challenging and emerging issues in international law, this inaugural event attracted the participation of close to twenty speakers and participants.

One of the challenging legal issues of our time is the increasing use of and reliance on technologies and processes involving artificial intelligence (AI). The advent of AI that can process large quantities of data, learn at an exponential rate and adapt to changing circumstances present various ethical, policy, and legal question that arise in relation to the development and deployment of AI for scientific, commercial, and potentially strategic purposes, on Earth and in outer space. Indeed, increasing use is being made of technologies and machines that can autonomously perform a variety of functions in domains such as outer space, the Arctic and the high seas, where conditions are hostile and hazardous to human life. What these “global commons” share, particularly in relation to the regulation of activities in each respective domain, is the fact that they are regions beyond national jurisdiction. With increased commercial and extractive activities taking place in the Artic, on the high seas, and soon in outer space, the norms of international law on State responsibility for activities undertaken in these domains is deserving of further attention and research.

The Workshop opened with a keynote lecture by Professor Steven Freeland, Dean of the Faculty of Law of Western Sydney University, who outlined the unique legal regime governing outer space. Professor Freeland is also the Co-Editor of the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space. What followed were various presentations by experts and academics from Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, who addressed a myriad of topics surrounding the autonomous operations in the emerging activities in the Arctic and outer space. At lunch, an engaging lecture was given by Professor Freeland and Mr. Alexander Soucek, the Legal Officer of the European Space Agency, who together enlightened the audience and members of the public on the topic “Public International Law: The Wonders of Space Law”.

In his presentation titled “Space Law meets the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence”, Mr. Chen discussed synergies that can be drawn between the declaration that was adopted in December 2018, and space law, which was developed and evolved since the adoption of the space law treaties in the 1960s and 1970s. The Montreal Declaration was the result of a long dialogue between AI experts, lawyers and policymakers, industry stakeholders, civil society organizations, and citizens. The Declaration identifies core ethical values and principles that promote the fundamental interests of human beings as the basis for the future development of policies and regulations governing the development of AI technology and applications. At the critical juncture when emerging modes and means of space exploration and utilisation are being developed and put to use, many of which no doubt rely partly or wholly on AI, it is of great interest to identify and analyse potential synergies between space law and the contents of the Montreal Declaration. Particularly, the commitment to core human values contained in the Montreal Declaration may feed into or strengthen the space law’s commitment to the peaceful expiration and use of outer space and undertaking space activities for the benefit and in the interests of all countries. Such analysis and discussions may be useful to further strengthen the governance of space activities, and enhance the peaceful, safe and sustainable exploration and use of outer space by all States, as well as feed into similar debates in other domains beyond national jurisdiction.

The Helsinki Workshop concluded with agreement among all participants that there is great value in fostering ongoing exchange and dialogue among experts in different branches of international law. Such continuing dialogue will be useful to clarify the concept of State responsibility in domains beyond national jurisdiction. Follow up events and publication compiling the papers presented at the Workshop are being considered.

Since its inception, the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law has been at the forefront of conducting innovative and interdisciplinary research. Opportunities to contribute to collaborative scholarship and research, such as this groundbreaking workshop inaugurated by the University of Helsinki, is squarely in line with the objectives of the Centre to ensuring that core principles of humanity, and commitment to peaceful uses of outer space, continue to form the core of the governance of activities in outer space.

UAE Representative to ICAO Captain Aysha Al-Hameli Leads Colloquium at IASL - March 2019

Cpt. Aysha Al-Hameli with IASL Director Professor Brian Havel

On 12 March 2019, the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Capt. Aysha Al-Hameli, was the latest speaker in the Institute’s Colloquium series in Air and Space Law.

The Colloquium series is intended to give Institute students at all degree levels an opportunity to listen to and interact with inspiring leaders of the Canadian and global air and space law communities.

Captain Aysha, as she is known, holds a Graduate Certificate in Air and Space Law from the Institute. She is currently a candidate to succeed the current President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, who is also a graduate of the Institute and who will step down later this year.

The Director of the IASL, Professor Brian F. Havel, introduced Captain Aysha by presenting the highlights of her fascinating professional history. She qualified as the first female pilot in the UAE at the age of 16, and went on to a career as the UAE’s negotiator for international air services agreements and then as her country’s permanent representative at ICAO. She is at the same time the youngest member of the ICAO Council and also one of its longest-serving members. Professor Havel described Captain Aysha as a visionary presence on the Council and noted her leadership of key Council initiatives including “No Country Left Behind,” the “Next Generation of Aviation Professionals” (NGAP), and the promotion of aviation and aerospace sciences among schoolchildren (the “Dreams Soar” project).

Captain Aysha led a highly interactive Colloquium session in which she addressed not only her professional accomplishments but also her personal history and her experience as a young woman rising in a field where she was (and still is) on both counts a minority. She also gave the students an insider view of global governance, focusing on how the 36 members of the ICAO Council collaborate to achieve ICAO’s complex legislative agenda. In closing, Captain Aysha encouraged the IASL’s women students to play an active role in the future of the global aviation industry.

Captain Aysha was joined at the Colloquium by Ms. Elene Tchezhia (who graduated with an LLM from the Institute in 2018), a native of the State of Georgia, Eastern Europe. Elene is currently the senior administrator and technical expert for the UAE delegation at ICAO. Elene was the coordinator of the in-class moot court competition held last fall in Professor Havel’s Private International Air Law class and has been immensely supportive of the Institute’s activities and programmes.

Decarbonising Aviation: The Why and The How - February 2019

Panelists at the Colloquium in Air and Space Law "Decarbonising Aviation: The Why and The How”, jointly organised by the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation and Institute of Air and Space Law.

On 13 February 2019, the Institute of Air and Space Law held its first Colloquium in Air and Space Law of the year. Under the theme “Decarbonising Aviation: The Why and The How”, a panel of leading scientists and technical experts took part to in an interactive roundtable discussion on alternative decarbonisation measures that could be adopted in addition to CORSIA, the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme under the auspices of the International Aviation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Under CORSIA, ICAO Member States have committed themselves to a phased implementation of offsetting emissions from aviation in achieving carbon-neutral growth from the year 2020. A criticism of CORSIA is that it relies heavily on market-based measures to offset carbon emissions, and neglects technological and operational improvements and alternative fuels that can be also be effective means of decarbonisation.

This unique Colloquium was organised in cooperation with the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA), a group of national and international environmental non-governmental organisations that has ICAO observer status. ICSA strongly believes that addressing the issue of aviation emissions cannot solely rely on market measures but must involve coordinated efforts between stakeholders in the aviation sector that employ a variety of technical means to reduce emission. The panel of experts from a variety of European research institutions and government agencies were gathered in Montreal to attend the Eleventh Meeting of the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP/11).

The Colloquium was moderated by Institute Director Professor Brian F. Havel, who introduced the distinguished panel participants by noting that they had been invited by ICAO to present their findings and proposals before CAEP, the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, the technical committee that assists the ICAO Council in formulating policies and adopting Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in relation to the environmental impact of international civil aviation.

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel was the moderator of this stimulating colloquium.Although CORSIA represents an extraordinary feat of multilateral compromise and is ambitious in its scale and commitments, market-based measures should not overshadow scientific and technological advancements in aircraft designs and development in utilising biofuels and other alternative sources of energy. As Professor Havel noted, with a newly composed ICAO Council, there may be more willingness to look beyond purely economic schemes and to consider the broader basket of measures that together, in a holistic way, address the issue of environmental impact of aviation.

The two-hour colloquium began with a presentation by Dr. Martin Cames of the Germany-based Öko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology), who illustrated the various “pathway” challenges to meeting decarbonisation targets. One conclusion was that targets cannot be met with market-based measures alone, and must be combined with policies and incentives to prompt technical and operational improvements in the aviation sector, as well as with offsetting of emissions in other sectors.

Dr. Joris Melkert, an expert in the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of the Technical University (TU) Delft in the Netherlands, highlighted opportunities and limitations in the way that aircraft have been designed since the dawn of commercial aviation. In recent decades there have been tremendous advances in how aircraft are configured that have led to increased efficiencies and decreased emissions. However, the razor-thin margins of commercial aviation act as a deterrent for airlines to invest in the use of alternative fuels on a grand scale.

Dr. Chris Malins, of renewable energy consultancy firm Cerulogy, offered attendees insight into the opportunities and challenges that the use of alternative fuels present. Existing alternative fuels unfortunately require biomass that creates environmentally unsound footprints in water consumption and land use. Dr Harry Lehmann, of the German Environment Agency, introduced the Colloquium to power-to-liquid, which comprises several pathways for using chemical processes to produce energy to drive combustion engines. Finally, Dr. Volker Grewe, the Chair for Climate Effects of Aviation at TU Delft, concluded the panel with a presentation on the effects and seriousness of non-carbon dioxide aviation emissions, urging participants to understand that emissions mitigation must not just focus on decarbonisation but must compromise of measures to mitigate the impact of non-CO2 emissions such as soot, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur oxide, as well as the as-yet uncertain climate effects of airplane “contrails.”

A vigorous 45-minute question-and-answer session with the panel highlighted the diversity of views about the viability and methodology of aviation decarbonisation, and whether in fact aviation (especially for large-thrust engines) can ever be truly achieved outside the traditional framework of highly combustible fossil fuel technology. Among the issues considered in the discussion were engagement of the military in this effort, particularly as the military is not a party to agreements for civil aviation emissions reduction. The participants also discussed the necessity for public/private shared investment to combat carbon emissions growth, and the role of public opinion in driving a decarbonisation ethos. Further, the possibility that legal rules, such as antitrust and the banning of State subsidies like launch aid for new aircraft, may be detrimental to the collaboration needed to find alternative energy sources for propulsion and to the reduction of congestion and more consolidation on high-demand routes, stimulated much debate among panellists and the audience.

Despite inclement weather conditions and heavy snowfall, the Colloquium in Air and Space Law proceeded as scheduled and attracted an attendance of 40 members of the public as well as faculty and students. The Colloquium offered the IASL students in particular an opportunity to hear and critique the kind of expert scientific and policy presentations that ICAO’s own environmental panel had heard just the day before.

The Institute is especially grateful to Mr. Andrew Murphy, ICSA’s aviation manager for transport and the environment, for facilitating the Colloquium.

Decarbonisation of aviation does not have a quick, one-stop solution, but requires dialogue and interaction among policy-makers, industry stakeholders, and scientists and technical experts like the ones present at this unique Colloquium. Members of the public, as well as future aviation professionals currently studying and researching at the Institute of Air and Space Law, can benefit greatly from events such as the Colloquium in Air and Space Law to develop a keener understanding of the challenges and opportunities present in today’s global aerospace industry.

The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law Proudly Announces New Sponsorship by Qatar Airways - February 2019

The Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL)_is pleased to announce that global airline Qatar Airways will be the new sponsor of the Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition which will be held on 21 and 22 March 2019. This highly anticipated annual event was successfully inaugurated at McGill in March 2018. With the generous sponsorship of Qatar Airways, in the coming years the scope and reach of this event will be extended to participation by students at law schools throughout Canada and the Americas.

The “speed moot” will be assessed on oral arguments rather than written briefs, providing law students with opportunities to engage with complex and current issues in international aviation law and policy. The novelty of the speed moot court is the focus on issues of relevance to the agenda of the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Senior officials from ICAO have actively taken part in judging the competition, and adding to its prestige and importance, the moot competition will be staged at McGill University and at the headquarters of ICAO in Montreal. It is hoped that the Grand Final will take place in the chamber of the ICAO Assembly.

The Qatar Airways/McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition will be an integral part of the academic curriculum at McGill and provide further opportunities for enhancing the skillset of future aviation specialists. Also being organised to coincide with the new moot court competition is the IASL’s inaugural Rising Scholars in Air and Space Law Conference, which this year will be held on 23 March 2019. Coordinating the moot court competition on behalf of Qatar Airways are Dr. Md Tanveer Ahmad (Manager, Aeropolitical Affairs), Mr. Marcelo Garcia Rosales (Manager, Regulatory & Corporate Affairs) and Mr. Yifei Xie (Senior Aeropolitical Affairs Analyst), who are all recent graduates and proud alumni of the IASL. Seasoned aviation professionals from Qatar Airways, led by Senior Vice President Aeropolitical and Corporate Affairs Mr. Fathi Atti, will also be taking part in the Qatar Airways/McGill moot court competition as honourable judges.

Air traffic to and from the Middle East region has grown dramatically over the past decade, and Skytrax 5-star airline Qatar Airways is a key player behind this impressive growth. Establishing partnerships with government and private entities in the region is in line with the IASL’s continuing mission to cultivate talent and disseminate expertise in air and space law worldwide.

The IASL looks forward to the blossoming of our partnership with Qatar Airways, and to the many advantages that will flow from a stronger relationship with the recipient of so many awards and accolades from the travelling public and the airline industry.

Meet the IASL class of 2018/2019!

Meet the IASL class of 2018-2019! Taken here with Faculty of Law members (front row, from left to right) Associate Dean Richard Gold, Professor Ram Jakhu, Dean Robert Leckey, IASL Director Brian Havel, Adjunct Professor Ludwig Weber and Adjunct Professor Yaw Nyampong. This year, we have a very diverse and multicultural group of students from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Germany, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United States.


12th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance
18-19 October 2019


The 12th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance will be held on 18-19 October 2019 in Montreal, Canada. More information and the program will follow on the designated website.

IASL signs Letter of Intent with Qatari Civil Aviation Authority

His Excellency Mr. Abdulla Nasser Turki Al-Subaey, President of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority and IASL Professor and Director Brian F. Havel. Professor Havel signed a Letter of Intent for future cooperation on a number of different research projects, training courses, seminars and workshops.

The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law has signed a Letter of Intent with the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority for future cooperation on a number of different research projects, training courses, seminars and workshops. Pictured above at the signing ceremony in Doha on 11 December 2018 are His Excellency Mr. Abdulla Nasser Turki Al-Subaey, President of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, and IASL Professor and Director Brian F. Havel. Professor Havel was also in Qatar to speak at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 5th Global Aviation Training and Trainair Plus Symposium which was co-hosted by the Qatar Ministry of Transport and the Qatar Aeronautical College. Over 800 international delegates attended the Symposium.

Professor Havel was joined on his panel, which focused on the role of universities in preparing students for careers in he aviation industry, by a number of leading aviation training specialists including Dr. Paul Bates, Head of Aviation at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia (moderator), Dr. Michael Lim, Director of the Singapore Aviation Academy, Olivier Chansou, President of the Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (France), Guido Gianasso, Associate Dean of the Nanyang Business School of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and Sandra Nichol, Director of the John Molson Executive Centre at Concordia University, Montreal. Professor Havel addressed how university education can become responsive to the training needs of future industry professionals but at the same time must preserve the high quality of the education credentials and broad focus on critical thinking and holistic problem-solving that universities like McGill have traditionally provided.

Professor Havel also noted the IASL’s key involvement as a founding institution of the ALICANTO global network of aviation and aerospace educators that was launched this week by ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu in Shenzhen, China at the Second ICAO Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) Global Summit (NGAP/2) on 12-14 December 2018. The event brought together professionals and institutions in the aviation domain to discussion education strategies and partnerships for cultivating the next generation of aviation professionals. Earlier, Secretary General Liu announced the establishment of the International Association of Aviation and Aerospace Educators during her recent visit to attend an IASL Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law on 27 November. The IASL will be serving as the global point of contact for ALICANTO.

The Institute is very grateful to our 2016 LLM alumnus Julius Dunton for acting as pro bono legal counsel to the new network.

ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu visits the Institute of Air and Space Law - November 2018

ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu shakes hands with IASL Director Professor Brian Havel. On the occasion of the Secretary General's visit and participation at the IASL Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law, Dr. Liu was presented with The Principles and Practice of International Aviation Law, co-authored by by Professors Brian F. Havel and Gabriel S. Sanchez.

Dr. Fang Liu, the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), paid a visit to the Institute of Air and Space Law on 27 November 2018. Currently in her second term as the head of the Secretariat and Chief Executive Officer of the specialised United Nations body charged with regulating international aviation, Madame Secretary General took several hours from her precious schedule to address students and members of the public at the second IASL Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law of the Fall 2018 semester.

Dr. Liu is a regular visitor to the Institute of Air and Space Law. In June 2017, Dr. Liu was the keynote speaker on the occasion of the 10th McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability and Insurance. The ICAO Secretary General was also among the many very important dignitaries who attended the gala event to mark the 65th anniversary of the Institute in 2016. On this special and intimate occasion of the Colloquium, Dr. Liu shared with close to 30 IASL students and staff the unique path that led to her appointment as the first female and first Chinese Secretary General of ICAO. Her illustrious career began over 20 years ago at the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC). Initially serving as Legal Counsel, and later as the Director of Department of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Liu was responsible for China’s international air transport policy and regulations, bilateral and multilateral relations with international and regional organizations including ICAO, the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the European Union, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). She was also China’s chief negotiator for bilateral and multilateral air transport agreements with foreign countries.

Dr. Liu inspired students with personal anecdotes and captivating perspectives on the work and governance of ICAO as an intergovernmental body mandated with the objective of achieving uniformity in technical standards and practices across the globe. Prior to becoming Secretary General, Dr. Liu served eight years as the Director of ICAO’s Bureau of Administration and Services (ADB). With her familiarity with the bureaucratic structure of ICAO, and impressive command of the intricacies of public international air law, she embarked on a mission to improve governance and enhance the efficiency of the management and support services of the UN body. Under her tenure, ICAO has made tremendous transformations in enhancing and expanding technical cooperation and assistance programmes to further strengthen the safety, security, and the shared benefits of global aviation, particularly in developing States under the No Country Left Behind scheme.

Although aviation presents many opportunities and is a powerful tool to contribute to the global economy, Dr. Liu also underlined several problems and challenges that need world-wide consensus and political will to address. Among these challenges are rapid evolutions in the development and use of remotely piloted systems (“drones”), and the advent of suborbital vehicles, which will transit through and share already congested air space already handling high volumes of air traffic. In light of ICAO’s long-standing history and capability to set global standards and practices, Dr. Liu underlined it is only logical that ICAO continue to assume a leadership role in regulating matters that may influence or have a bearing on the safety and security of global aviation. Further, with increasing reliance on artificial intelligence and big data, there is an urgent need to address cyber and other vulnerabilities of the global aviation infrastructure. At the juncture of an aviation industry revolution, regulation of this sector requires the timely adoption of standards and practices reflective of industry’s commercial interest, the continued growth of and reliance on nascent technologies, and the global interest in guaranteeing the sustainability, security, and safety of aviation.

The Secretary General emphasised the key role that research and educational institutions, such as the IASL, play in bridging and facilitating dialogue between industry, governments and intergovernmental bodies. The ability to provide education and training to future aviation professionals and to stimulate interest and research in aviation and aerospace activities is much needed. Dr. Liu and IASL Director Professor Brian F. Havel used the occasion of the Colloquium to publicly announce the establishment of an association for aviation and aerospace educational institutions worldwide, of which the McGill Institute would serve as the global point of contact.

With regard to her connection to the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, the Secretary General recalled that as a budding lawyer many years ago her ultimate dream was to be at McGill due to its rich history and global renown. This visit to the Institute was in a sense a dream come true. As the first female head of the ICAO Secretariat, Dr. Liu has made it a personal mission to highlight the significant opportunities that aviation can provide young professionals and particularly women. Indeed, during the Colloquium and informal exchanges with students that followed, Dr. Liu praised the gender balance and cultural diversity of the IASL class, which has students originating from 19 different countries, of whom 55% are women.

Highlighting the fact that scheduled flights are expected to double over the next decade to 200,000 daily flights, Dr. Liu noted the aviation industry’s pressing need for competent aviation professionals in the years to come in order to ensure the sustained growth of this vital pillar of and contributor to global prosperity. She reminded current students of their sacred mission to continually advocate and encourage young people and future graduates to become involved in the global air transport industry. Together with the forward-looking mandate and role of ICAO to provide the industry with global order and to reduce uncertainty as States continue to exchange aviation relations, there is a great need to recruit aviation professionals holding the legal expertise and technical understanding to predict and address issues arising from the sustained evolution of aviation and future aerospace operations. “The world is yours”, Dr. Liu concluded to the warm applause of participants at the Colloquium.

Launched in 2017, the IASL Colloquium Series offers a platform for practitioners and experts in the field of air and space law to share their expertise and experience with students and interested members of the public. Previous invited speakers have included John R. Byerly, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs at the United States Department of State, and Mr. Jefferey Shane, General Counsel of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The special visit by the ICAO Secretary General underscores the solid and long-standing ties between the world’s intergovernmental body overseeing the sustainable, safe, and secure development of international aviation and the world’s premier education and research institution for the specialised study of air and space law.


MILAMOS Workshop V successfully held at Beijing, the People’s Republic of China - October 2018

The fifth rule-drafting and consensus-forming workshop of the MILAMOS (Manual on the International Law Applicable to the Military Operations in Space) Project was held in Beijing, the People’s Republic of China, on 30 October-4 November 2018. The highly successful meeting of the MILAMOS Group of Experts, the first of its kind in Asia and in China, was organised at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), which is a Partner Institution of the Project.

Over the course of five days, MILAMOS experts and contributors attended intense plenary sessions to discuss dozens of rules that have been drafted since the previous workshop held at Montreal, Canada, in July 2018. Fundamental rules which define the scope and approach of the resultant Manual clarifying the legality of military activities and uses in outer space, were tabled and fiercely debated with a view to capturing the consensus of the Group of Experts who represent a wide spectrum of perspectives and legal approaches on issues that have long been the source of debate and contention. Key definitional rules on, inter alia, what constitutes Military Space Activity, Damage, Harmful Interference, the meaning of Peaceful Purposes, and the scope of the Application of International Law to Outer Space, were discussed. Dozens of other rules were conceptualised and assigned to MILAMOS Core Experts with a view to drafting them following the Beijing Workshop and prior to the next consensus-forming workshop in four months’ time. No doubt, MILAMOS Workshop V marked yet another major milestone in the three-year Project, and consolidated much of the progress that has been made since the Project launched in May 2016.

Secretary General of BIT Law School, Mr. Yu Zhang, and Vice President of BIT, Mr. Zhihong Yang were presented with a special commemorative plaque celebrating the cooperation and collaboration between the BIT Institute of Space Law and McGill Institute of Air and Space Law in the research and dissemination of knowledge in this cutting-edge field of law. The Secretary General of BIT Law School, Mr. Yu Zhang, and Vice President of BIT, Mr. Zhihong Yang, opened the Workshop by welcoming the Experts and participants to the foremost research and educational institution in China in the domain of space law. Adhering to the objective of integrating science and technology in the study of and research in law, an objective shared in the vision of the MILAMOS Project, BIT has dedicated research centres focusing on air and space law, the interaction between military and civilian law, and legal aspects of artificial intelligence, making it a natural choice as the MILAMOS Partner Institution in China, and the host of MILAMOS Workshop V. BIT, which joined the MILAMOS Project as a Partner Institution in March 2018, is also the official Space Law Centre of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), China’s space agency. At the Opening Ceremony of the Workshop, BIT officials were presented with a special commemorative plaque celebrating the cooperation and collaboration between the BIT Institute of Space Law and McGill Institute of Air and Space Law in the research and dissemination of knowledge in this cutting-edge field of law.

MILAMOS Project Director and Co-Editor of the McGill Manual, Professor Ram Jakhu, welcomed the participants to the Workshop by expressing his gratitude to the experts and technical advisors for their tireless support and contributions that continue to make the MILAMOS Project a truly international, interdisciplinary and collaborative project. During his welcome address, Professor Jakhu used the opportunity to highlight some recent outreach activities of the MILAMOS Project, including a briefing before delegates of the Sixth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and a seminar at Columbia University. Further, the MILAMOS Project will be the subject of discussions at the Workshop on Indo-Pacific: Security Governance for Peace, held at York University in Toronto, Canada (14-15 November 2018); at the International Conference on Cyberlaw, Cybercrime & Cybersecurity, to be held in New Delhi, India (14-16 November 2018); and also at a dedicated Roundtable on “Conflicts in Outer Space and MILAMOS” held on the sidelines of the Conference on Legal Aspects of the Use of Outer Space: Challenges and Opportunities, which is being organised by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) University, in Al-Ein, the UAE (20-21 November 2018). Coupled with previous presentations and publicity events on the MILAMOS Project before the UN and various other fora, it is manifest that the innovative and important work undertaken by the MILAMOS Group of Experts is attracting the interest and attention of governments and stakeholders across the globe.

Professor Brian F. Havel, Chair of the MILAMOS Board of Advisors, addressed the participants at MILAMOS Workshop V in absentia. In his rousing speech, the Director of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law highlighted the ability of this worthwhile endeavour to bring together experts, practitioners and academics from civilian, commercial, governmental and intergovernmental institutions across the globe who share concerns for the safety, security and sustainable use of the fragile space environment. The willingness and ability to work in harmonious collaboration, and the visible efforts of the participants to seek consensus on matters that at times may seem controversial, remain highly valuable and much needed in a world divided by geopolitical interests and Realpolitik. Indeed, in recognition of the value of the McGill Manual, Professor Havel disclosed that Cambridge University Press, one of the world’s most prestigious imprints, has approached MILAMOS Project Director Professor Ram Jakhu to discuss the opportunity of publishing the Manual upon its completion in 2019.

MILAMOS Workshop V was attended by 21 contributors and participants from 12 States, including representatives from the three major spacefaring States of China, the Russian Federation, and the United States. In addition, underlying the great interest in and importance of the issues being debated in the MILAMOS Project, there were six observers hailing from the Embassy of Canada to the People’s Republic of China, China, Japan, and the United States. Besides the intense agenda featuring 12 plenary sessions and 6 Editorial Committee meetings, the MILAMOS Group of Experts and participants at the Workshop also took the opportunity to tour iconic sights of Beijing and to sample a variety of delicious local cuisines, all provided courtesy of BIT as the host of Workshop V.

The next rule-drafting and consensus-forming workshop will be held in February 2019, most probably in Germany, hosted by our Partner Institution, the Institute of Air and Space Law of the University of Cologne.

The Institute of Air and Space Law hosts an Air Law Conference and Alumni Reunion in Dublin, Ireland - October 2018

IASL faculty and staff – and several of our students – were in Dublin, Ireland, from 17-21 October 2018 for two major events in the Institute’s calendar: the Eleventh Annual McGill/PEOPIL Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance, and the latest reunion of Europe-based IASL alumni. Featuring beautiful venues and the best of the famous Irish hospitality, both events proved hugely successful.

Participants at the Eleventh Annual McGill/PEOPIL Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance, held in Dublin, Ireland.

Eleventh Annual McGill/PEOPIL Conference on International Aviation Liability, Insurance & Finance:

The Conference was held within the spectacular complex of the National Gallery of Ireland in central Dublin, allowing the more than 130 delegates an opportunity to stroll through galleries showcasing Ireland’s finest painting and sculpture collection. Of particular note was the newly-opened 20-metre-high atrium that separates the old and new wings and that was the venue for coffee breaks and lunches. The Conference featured a packed schedule of 10 panels and 45 speakers over two days. As well as the well-recognised focus on current issues in private aviation law liability and litigation, a new dimension of the 2018 Conference was the inclusion of a high-level panel on “The Challenges of Aircraft Leasing and Finance” – tailored to Ireland’s status as one of the world’s leading aircraft finance jurisdictions. The Conference dinner at Dublin’s 19th Century St. Stephen’s Green Club was keynoted by Stephen Kavanagh, retiring CEO of the Irish national carrier Aer Lingus. After an introduction by the IASL Director, Professor Brian F. Havel, Mr. Kavanaugh made the case for why Aer Lingus has thrived in a very demanding economic environment, and outlined expansion plans including new services between Dublin and Montreal starting in 2019.

The Institute is extremely grateful to our Conference Sponsors:
Diamond (Clifford Law Offices), Gold (DLA Piper, Speiser Krause), Silver (Clyde & Co., PodhurstOrseck, Dillon Eustace, and Bronze (Arena Alvarez, Baumeister & Samuels, Kreindler & Kreindler).

The Twelfth Annual Conference, which will continue our Dublin focus on the three areas of aviation liability, insurance, and finance, will take place in Montreal, Canada, on 17-18 October 2018. The IASL is also very grateful to our European collaborator, PEOPIL, the Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers, with whom we are now already planning our Thirteenth Conference, in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2020.

IASL European Alumni Reunion:

On October 20, immediately following the Aviation Conference, 30 European-based IASL alumni gathered for a reception in the impressive setting of the Wellington Room of Dublin’s heritage Merrion Hotel (birthplace in a former existence of the Duke of Wellington), marking the latest in the IASL European alumni group’s ongoing series of reunions in different European cities. As well as exchanging professional news and ideas and hearing a report on the Institute from Director Brian F. Havel, the alumni were also treated to a brilliant lecture on the impact of Brexit on the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland by Professor Imelda Maher, Sutherland Professor of Law and the first female Dean of the law school of University College Dublin.

The Dublin alumni event was held with the generous sponsorship of Ireland’s top aviation finance commercial law firm, A & L Goodbody. Firm chairman Catherine Duffy as well as firm events coordinator Eavan Sheehan were on hand to open the proceedings. The Institute is extremely appreciative of the support received from A & L Goodbody.

The general sentiment of the Dublin alumni group was that get-togethers of this kind have great social and professional value and it was resolved to host further events in the coming years, with Warsaw in 2019 emerging as the group favourite.

The Institute’s Dublin sojourn closed with a unique social occasion – all alumni and Conference attendees were invited to the private townhome of Dublin barristers Linda and Brian O’Shea-Farren for a gala evening of champagne, Irish cuisine, and – no other word describes it – the special kind of Irish merry-making that is called (in Gaelic) “craic.” Brian and Linda, whose home with the Tiffany blue door on Raglan Road has truly become a “salon” for all kinds of visitors from U.S. President Bill Clinton to leading Irish poets and musicians, were marvellous hosts for over 75 IASL guests from points all over the globe.

IASL European alumni at the recent reunion in Dublin, Ireland.

Air and Space Law Workshop Series takes off with IASL Graduate Lasantha Hatteriachchi

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new lecture series for students of the Institute of Air and Space Law called the Air and Space Law Workshop Series. The aim is to provide students and professionals enrolled at the Institute an informative and engaging opportunity to learn about the types of issues that they may face in their future careers after graduation.

Mr. Lasantha Hettiarachchi, current DCL candidate at the Institute, began what will be a three-part series on Understanding and Drafting Air Transport Related Contracts. The first segment, which took place on 5 October 2018, covered areas such as basic drafting principles, pre-contract due diligence, procedural issues and essential elements of contracts. Due to the very diverse and international background of students from different jurisdictions, through an seminar setting, Lasantha invited students to share their knowledge and understanding of legal provisions in the jurisdiction they are familiar with, and proceeded to demonstrate how and to what extent these different national rules can be adopted and reconciled within contracts having an international character.

The second part of this workshop series, which will take place in November 2018, would focus on different types of contracts and various types of provisions frequently encountered in air transport. The third and final segment, to take place in the Winter Semester, would be involve a hands-on exercise, during which students are guided by Lasantha in drafting contract provisions.

Mr. Lasantha Hettiarachchi, is an attorney-at-law in Sri Lanka who specialises in aviation law. Over the past three decades, he has developed extensive experience and bourgeoning practice consulting for airlines, regulators and passengers on a variety of legal issues, including aircraft finance and leasing, aircraft insurance, and consumer protection in the airline industry. With his wealth of experience in the industry, he is well suited to explain and guide students on how to navigate the complex world of contract review and drafting, an essential skill for an young legal professional.

At the Institute, we provide students, future legal practitioners and budding academics with a well-rounded and holistic learning environment. This approach will not only provide them with in-depth understanding of intricate legal and policies issues in the domains of aviation and space, but also equip them with the necessary skill-set and practical experience to be effective advocates, practitioners and consultants to government, industry and other stakeholders in these burgeoning domains.

Air Passenger Rights Advocate Dr. Gabor Lukacs lectures at the IASL - October 2018

On 12 October 2018, Dr. Gabor Lukacs visited the Institute of Air and Space Law to give lectures on the regulatory framework surrounding airline tariffs and air passenger rights in Canada. Dr. Lukacs, the founder of passenger rights advocacy group Air Passenger Rights and a familiar face on Canadian media whenever issues arise in relation to the rights of the traveling public, addressed students at the Institute and held a separate public lecture at the Faculty of Law of McGill University on rights of passengers in the event of damage, delay or loss of baggage. The Director of the Institute, Professor Brian F. Havel, holds a more sceptical view of the air passenger rights movement, preferring a market-based approach to determine air carrier responsiveness to passenger complaints, but welcomed the opportunity to hear Dr. Lukacs’s argument for more stringent government regulation.

Since 2008, Dr. Lukacs has filed more than two dozen successful regulatory complaints with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), challenging the terms, conditions, and practices of airlines, resulting in orders directing them to amend their conditions of carriage and to offer better protection to passengers. Dr. Lukacs has appeared before courts across Canada in respect of air passenger rights, and has also successfully challenged the CTA's lack of transparency and the reasonableness of the Agency's decisions. In January 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Dr. Lukacs favour in a case dealing with whether a non-aggrieved party has public interest standing before the CTA.

In class, Dr. Lukacs outlined the regulatory framework under which air carriers operate in Canada, and focused on various aspects of tariff provisions and the conditions of carriage. He also highlighted the types of regulations and administrative penalties that the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), the quasi-judicial administrative tribunal of the federal government of Canada, has at its disposal to enforce tariff provisions and address complaints of air passengers in the event of inconveniences and damages occasioned as a result of delays and cancellations. There are recent proposals to adopt a “Passenger Bill of Rights”, and the government has conducted “public consultations” to seek input from industry and stakeholders on how best to improve air passenger rights protection in Canada. However, these proposals have been criticised as clawing back the rights of air passengers instead of advancing them. The public lecture was held at New Chancellor Day Hall of the Faculty of Law and entitled “Oh My Bags! Your Rights when Air Travel Goes Wrong”. The informative and engaging session provided an overview of their rights  as air passengers, and was well attended by many staff, students and members of the public. Dr. Lukacs took the audience through a step-by-step process of how to complain and file for claims in the event of delayed, damaged or lost baggage. It is important, he argued, to keep clear documentation of one’s journey, to make clear claims, and, despite the frustrations of not receiving personal belongings upon arrival, to keep emotions in check when contacting the airline.

At the Institute, we aim to provide students and members of the public with a neutral academic platform for discussions and exchange on legal and policy issues surrounding the domains of aviation and space. Through guest lectures and our Colloquium on Air and Space Law series, we invite industry and airline representatives and stakeholders to address a myriad of issues that are of interest and relevance to students and the general public. Informative guest lectures by invited speakers, such as Dr. Lukacs, offer different perspectives and a more holistic understanding of the complexities and challenges in the airline industry.

Deputy Head of the Italian Civil Aviation Authority Discusses Cooperation with the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law

Dr. Alessandro Cardi, the Deputy Director General of Italy’s Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile (ENAC, National Agency for Civil Aviation) discussed cooperation with the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law with the Centre's Executive Director Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen and Italian DCL candidate Mr. Ermanno Napolitano.

Dr. Alessandro Cardi, the Deputy Director General of Italy’s Ente Nazionale per l'Aviazione Civile (ENAC, National Agency for Civil Aviation) was in Montreal to discuss opportunities for cooperation with the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law. Dr. Cardi met with Executive Director of the Centre, Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen, and DCL candidate, Mr. Ermanno Napolitano, who is a native of Italy, to discuss mutually beneficial opportunities for exchanges and joint research on legal and policy issues surrounding suborbital operations.

In recent years, the Government of Italy has taken a keen interest in fostering the development of suborbital operations, with a view to commencing point-to-point travel between Europe and the United States in the early 2020s. Italy is the first country in Europe to proactively pave the way toward commercial sub-orbital operations. In 2016, ENAC signed an agreement with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to jointly develop an Italian spaceport. Earlier this year, Virgin Galactic signed an agreement with the Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, ASI) to conduct joint research on SpaceShipTwo, the suborbital vehicle that may potentially be used to conduct operations between New Mexico and a designated spaceport in southern Italy. These international cooperative efforts dovetail with much research and even legislative proposals on the appropriate regulatory framework to accommodate commercial sub-orbital operations within existing airspace systems on both sides of the Atlantic. More recently, during a meeting with US President Trump in July 2018, Italian Prime Minister Conte underlined the hope that US and Italian aerospace cooperation will soon lead to the launch of aerospace vehicles that can connect the two nations in an hour and a half.

Not only will suborbital operations pose technical and operational challenges, there are various national, regional, and international regulatory frameworks governing, e.g. certification of suborbital vehicles and the liability of operators, that need to be carefully considered and harmonised. In proposing this new cooperation, ENAC has recognised the McGill Institute’s global reputation as the leader for innovative research in air and space law and its capacity to provide support for Italy’s efforts to create a viable regulatory framework for the sustainability and growth of commercial suborbital operations.

In 2013, the Centre co-hosted an international conference on emerging modes of aerospace transportation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and International Association for Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS). In 2015, we co-sponsored the inaugural ICAO/UNOOSA Aerospace Symposium, which initiated discussions at the intergovernmental level on the need for a viable regulatory regime governing sub-orbital flights. Currently, the Centre is involved in the Legal Sub Group of the ICAO/UNOOSA Space Learning Group. In the Summer of 2018, IASL Director Professor Brian F. Havel facilitated the Off-Site Meeting of the ICAO Council, where the role of ICAO in relation to rapid technological changes, including the emergence of new modes of aerospace transport, was the subject of intense discussion and analysis by Council members. It is natural that the Centre will become a suitable partner for governments and stakeholders across the globe seeking research concerning the legal and regulatory issues of operations in air space and near-space.

We look forward to working together with the Italian Civil Aviation Authority in such a forward-looking initiative. The opportunity to be involved in the beginning stages of establishing a regulatory framework for cross-border aerospace transportation will provide the Centre with insight on current national and cross-national discussions. It will also provide opportunities for students and staff to remain at the forefront of developments in a future mode of transportation that will intersect air law and space law.

IASL Graduate Recipient of 2018 IAWA Scholarship - October 2018

Ms. Renata Iezzi, lawyer, Dr. Christine Darden, NASA retired mathematician, Isabella and Ms. Katie Manworren, SMU Graduate Student.

We are pleased to announce that current IASL student Ms. Isabella Vilhena is the winner of the 2018 International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA) Scholarship. The Scholarship, awarded annually to candidates majoring in law, management, business, or finance and who have a true passion for aviation, is presented to the most promising women professionals in the field on the basis of merit.

"My story with aviation started by chance,” Isabella said. Despite the loss of her mother in her final year of law school at Federal Fluminense University in her native Brazil, she overcame adversity, and soon landed an internship at one of the major aviation law firms in Brazil. On graduation in 2013, Isabella became a Junior Associate at Basch & Rameh in Sao Paolo, and her work focused mainly on regulatory matters and aviation finance. “After years of hard work, the partners of the firm encouraged me to apply for an LLM program, and I could not think about any specialization other than aviation. McGill University was my goal because it has the world’s most well-known LL.M programme in Air and Space Law”, Ms. Vilhena said, “The more I have been involved in the programme, the more I am sure that I made the right choice”.

On 24-26 October 2018, Isabella attended the IAWA Annual Conference, which this year marked its 30th anniversary and was held in Memphis, Tennessee. The annual event is the world’s leading conference for women in the aviation and aerospace industry, and covered a range of topics including issues related to aviation operations and safety, manufacturing, customer experience, aviation finance, insurance and liability, as well as women’s leadership sessions.

At the Opening Ceremony, current IAWA President Ms. Alina Nassar noted that fewer than 30% of the CEOs in the aviation industry are women, and underlined that women represent only around 5% of pilots in the world. IAWA’s mission is the promotion of the professional development of women in aviation and aerospace and cultivation of the next generation of leaders in these burgeoning industries. “There are no words to express how privileged I felt to be there representing my McGill women colleagues as the 2018 scholarship recipient”, Isabella said, “I met amazing women who changed (and keep changing) the history of the air and space industry. I will do my best to honour their legacy”.

To add to her impressive array of academic and professional credentials, Isabella also holds an MBA degree from Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-Rio). “My career has just begun, and I have so much to learn. I hope to keep up my studies and pursue my path as a lawyer, positively contributing to the international aviation community”.

Well done, Isabella, you make the IASL, and all women professionals in air and space law, very proud!

Conference on Legal Aspects of the Usages of Outer Space: Opportunities & Challenges - November 2018

The Centre for Research in Air and Space Law is pleased to co-organise the conference on Legal Aspects of the Usages of Outer Space: Opportunities & Challenges with the College of Law of the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). The Conference will be held on 20-21 November 2018, and will be held at UAEU, located in Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates.

The conference is the twenty-sixty annual international conference of the UAEU, and it will address various legal aspects related to the use and exploration of outer space, including the definition of outer space and the rights of States, military uses of outer space, the regulation of commercial uses of outer space, and the settlement of disputes related to space activities. The Conference will attract various international experts, academics and professionals in the space law community, and participants from government institutions, research institutions and the commercial space sectors are expected to attend the Conference. In addition to the two day programme, a special Roundtable titled “Conflicts in Space and MILAMOS” will be held, with McGill Manual Co-Editor Steven Freeland and MILAMOS Editorial Committee members Dr. Philip de Man and Mr. Peter Hulsroj taking part.

The programme of the conference can be downloaded here. For more information, please visit the official conference website.

IASL Director's timely article on Brexit and the Governance of Global Civil Aviation is released - November 2018

The McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law has released a detailed new paper by its Director, Professor Brian F. Havel, that comprehensively analyses the legal and policy consequences of Brexit for the airline industries of the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU), and the United States (US).

In the paper, Professor Havel lays out ways in which the UK Government can help its airlines to survive the Brexit disruption, but he also expresses scepticism that the EU will simply allow Britain to hold on to its existing air traffic rights as it leaves the Single Aviation Market. Instead, Professor Havel proposes that the UK’s aviation negotiators should make a dramatic offer to their EU counterparts to allow EU airlines to own or control UK airlines or to establish their own airlines or airline subsidiaries in the UK. In return, the EU would take similar action with respect to UK airlines seeking to operate in the EU. This mutual exchange of a so-called “right of establishment” would allow UK airlines continued access to the most liberal aspects of the Single Aviation Market.

At the same time, this mutual deal would be huge step forward for regulation of the global airline industry: it would be the first international air services agreement to completely scrap the antiquated rule that stops airlines from entering foreign markets through buying a foreign airline or setting up their own airlines or airline subsidiaries in a foreign country. In Professor Havel’s view, the EU has been frustrated by its failure to persuade other leading aviation countries to sign onto such an agreement and therefore the UK has the chance to leverage Brexit to make this happen. Major aeropolitical powers like the United States might well follow the UK/EU lead. The current tight restrictions on foreign investment in national airline industries, which have persisted worldwide for almost 75 years, continue to deny airlines free access to global capital markets and the ability to create truly global carriers.

The new paper, entitled How Brexit Can Transform the Governance of Global Civil Aviation, will be the lead article in the forthcoming volume of the McGill Institute’s flagship biannual publication, the Annals of Air and Space Law, which will be published in November 2018 and distributed by WS Hein. A preview version of the article is available for download.

The Institute Welcomes the LL.M. Class of 2018/19, the most Diverse and Cosmopolitan Class in its History - September 2018

Incoming and returning IASL students and faculty gathered on 20 September 2018 to mark the start of the 2018/2019 academic year. The boisterous reception was held in the fine setting of the McGill Faculty Club, and over 50 attendees joined the Director to celebrate the most diverse and cosmopolitan entering class in our almost 70-year history.

IASL Director Professor Brian F. Havel warmly welcomed the new and returning LL.M. and DCL students as well as professionals undertaking the Graduate Certificate in Air and Space Law and three new Graduate Research Trainees. Starting their career- and life-changing year at the Institute this year are students from 19 countries - Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Germany, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Uganda, and the United States.

The Director congratulated the incoming students for successfully negotiating McGill’s rigorous admissions process and earning their place in the new programme. He noted that the new students would eventually join a more than 1,000-strong global network of aviation and space professionals who have been receiving their graduate air and space law education at McGill since the Institute opened its doors in 1951. He also took note of a series of reunions of overseas IASL graduates that will begin in Dublin, Ireland, this October and continue in Hong Kong in January and in Warsaw, Poland, in October 2019. But of more immediate concern to the new students, Professor Havel issued an invitation to meet him for coffee and macadamia nut cookies at the McGill Faculty Club during the following week to discuss their individual course selections and to begin planning for their research projects and dissertations.

One of the nicest aspects of the reception was the great number of IASL graduates from the LL.M. class of 2017-18 who joined us to welcome their successors and to mentor them about life at the Institute. In a sense, their presence supplied living testimony of the Director’s boasts about the greater IASL community and we thank them sincerely!

In the year ahead, students will be able to benefit not only from the knowledge and expertise of highly qualified IASL faculty but also from the various professional and extracurricular events that are being planned. Planning is now at an advanced stage for the 10th Annual McGill Aviation Liability, Insurance and Finance Conference to be held in Dublin, Ireland, in October. The successful Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law will continue with distinguished speakers such as Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (invited), and John R. Byerly, former chief air services negotiator for the United States, who will be sharing their unique personal insights on developments in the field of air and space law. Students will be able to take part in three moot court competitions, including the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, where last year’s McGill team won Best Briefs in the North American Regional Round, the 10th annual Leiden/Sarin International Air Law Moot Court Competition in India, and the second iteration of the Institute’s own sponsored Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition. Further, students will be invited to take part in the various research activities of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, including assisting in the publication of the now twice-yearly Annals of Air and Space Law, and to provide research assistance to our flagship project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space.

Keep an eye on the website and social media for regular announcements about forthcoming events and activities. With a busy semester ahead, and so many activities and opportunities on offer for our new and returning graduates, 2018/2019 promises to be another exciting and memorable academic year at the IASL.

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel welcoming the class of 2018/19.

MILAMOS Workshop IV in Montreal, July 2018

Participants at MILAMOS Workshop VI, held at Montreal, Canada on 10-14 July 2018.

The fourth rule-drafting and consensus-forming workshop of the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) was held in Montreal, Canada, on 10-14 July 2018.

Director of the Institute of Air and Space Law, and Chair of the MILAMOS Board of Advisors, Professor Brian Havel, opened the Workshop with a rousing speech about the importance and timeliness of the MILAMOS Project . At the recent UNISPACE+50 events, several States underlined the necessity that space must be used for peaceful purposes and that space activities must be conducted in accordance with the rule of international law. Further, the announced intention of the United States to secure “space dominance” through the establishment of a “Space Force” has created much international alarm, highlighting the importance of articulating and clarifying the legality of various military activities in the space context.

In his opening remarks, Professor Ram Jakhu, the Project Director of the MILAMOS Project and Co-Editor of the McGill Manual, expressed his appreciation for the dedication and commitment of the MILAMOS Group of Experts gathered in Montreal. The active participation of known academics and professionals in the space domain is crucial for the success and international acceptance of the Project, which at this crucial phase enjoys the input of recognised world experts, more balanced geographical representation, and the involvement of collaborating institutions around the globe. Professor Steven Freeland, the Dean of the School of Law of Western Sydney University and Co-Editor of the McGill Manual, reminded the MILAMOS Group of Experts of the noble objective of drafting a manual that objectively articulates and clarifies international law applicable to military space activities, with a particular focus on activities in times of peace. The Manual is intended to reflect the consensus of legal viewpoints from across the globe, and to attract a broad audience in academia, the legal profession, and policy circles. As many space objects may be used simultaneously for military and non-military purposes, and that many space activities may entail a military use of outer space despite not being performed or owned by military establishments or personnel, the McGill Manual will be a valuable and practical guide for space operators, stakeholders, experts, and interest groups with an interest in the security and sustainability of space activities


For four days, the MILAMOS Group of Experts worked tirelessly to discuss and adopt, through consensus, two dozen rules that were drafted in the preceding months. Fundamental rules on the meaning of “peaceful purposes”, the scope of the application of international law to space activities, to the concept of the launching State, and issues of property rights that may arise in relation to military space activities, were among the draft rules prepared in advance of the meeting in Montreal. Through a meticulous process involving various stages of peer review and revision, the draft rules tabled before the plenary sessions of the workshop contain the essence of the collective input of the entire Group of Experts. Long and engaging discussions took place before sufficient consensus can be reached for the adoption of the rule. Commentary accompanying the rule reflect the varying perspectives and, if applicable, majority /minority viewpoints that arose through the discussions. This process, and the involvement of a representative group of space law experts and professionals from major space-faring and emerging space-faring States, will ensure that the McGill Manual captures the perspectives of a wide-range of space stakeholders from around the world.

Over 20 Experts hailing from 13 different States, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (US), attended the MILAMOS Workshop IV in Montreal. In addition, two State Observers, one from the US Department of State and another from the Canadian Department of National Defence, attended the four-day event, signifying the importance of the endeavours by the Group of Experts and the great international interest the MILAMOS Project has attracted since its launch in May 2016.

The next rule-drafting and consensus-forming workshop will take place in October 2018, and will be hosted by Partner Institution the Beijing Institute of Technology.

A Recent Reunion at the Institute - October 2018

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel and Professor Ram Jakhu met with students from the IASL class of 1988, who met up in Montreal to mark the 30th anniversary of meeting at the Institute. Mr. Jitu Thaker (ICAO) and Mr. Brian Challenger (Government of Antigua and Barbuda) are pictured here with Maria D'Amico and current DCL student Ms. Upasana Dasgupta.

The Institute of Air and Space Law welcomed the return of several graduates who gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of the first time they met in Montreal. Mr Jitu Thaker (South Africa), Mr. Brian Challenger (Antigua and Barbuda), Mr. George Petsikas (Canada) and Mr. Burkhart von Erlach (Belgium) were all students from the LL.M. class of 1988. Despite the fact they are spread across different continents, they committed to meet up 30 years to the day they first met.

Since graduation, these graduates have moved on to occupy prominent positions at (respectively) the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Air Transat, and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). They credit their successes to the well-rounded education the Institute offers, and the IASL alumni network, which connects graduates of the Institute with promising opportunities in the domains of air and space law around the world.

These members of the IASL alumni bonded over lunch with current Director Professor Brian F. Havel, and Professor Ram Jakhu and Ms. Maria D'Amico, the latter two of whom were also at the Institute back in 1988. They spoke fondly of their time at the Institute, which was then under the directorship of the late Emeritus Professor Nicolas Matte. Dr. Matte’s vision and leadership placed the Institute on the map as the go-to institution for quality education and research in air and space law.

While touring the hallways and classrooms of the Institute, the graduates from the class of 1988 recalled many memorable moments they shared with their fellow students from all over the globe. The renown of the Institute brought them together 30 years ago, and that brief period of their lives when they studied together and learned from one another sowed the seeds for life-long friendships. Occasionally, they meet at conferences or industry networking events, but they made it a point to gather at the Institute where it all began three decades ago.

As the premier institution for education and research in the dual disciplines of air law and space law, the Institute will soon celebrate its 70th anniversary. As the careers and life experiences of these returning graduates can attest, studying at the Institute is life- and career-changing. Thanks to the dedication of faculty members, and to the many graduates who leave the Institute with such fond memories and experiences earned during their time in Montreal, we are proud to bring together like-minded students and professionals and offer them opportunities to nurture their enthusiasm and interest in the domains of air law and space law.

Launch of Major New Edited Collection of Essays on Aviation and Sustainability by IASL Authors - October 2018

On 2 October 2018, at the McGill Faculty Club, the Institute joined with Cambridge University Press to launch Sustainable Development, International Aviation, and Treaty Implementation, a new collection of essays co-edited by Professor Armand de Mestral, former IASL Director, Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill, and world-recognised authority on international trade issues, Dr. Paul Fitzgerald, IASL doctoral graduate, Adjunct Professor at the IASL and recently retired member of the Canadian Transportation Agency, and Dr. Tanveer Ahmad, IASL doctoral graduate, former Executive Director of the McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space law, and currently Manager, Aeropolitical Affairs, with Qatar Airways in Doha, Qatar. The occasion was festive and drew a large attendance including many IASL students and graduates as well as representatives of Montreal-based air transport organisations including ICAO, IATA, and the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations, IFALPA. The Cambridge University Press announcement of the new publication can be found here.

The new collection is the 15th book to emerge from the Institute's Centre for Research in Air and Space Law in the past decade and it is our first publishing association with CUP. In his remarks at the launch, IASL Director Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel observed that the book is in fact a third milestone for the Institute’s research and scholarship in the field of aviation and the environment, linking it to earlier published DCL dissertations on aviation and climate change by Dr. Alejandro Piera Valdes and Dr. Ahmad. He noted, however, that the new work considerably enlarges the scope of the work pursued by Dr. Piera and Dr. Ahmad because it places aviation in the much broader context of its future sustainability using a large range of legal and policy considerations. Some draft chapters of the book were released by the Institute to the delegates to ICAO’s 39th Assembly in 2016 and shaped some of the thinking that led to the CORSIA emissions programme adopted at that Assembly. Professor Havel also thanked a number of IASL master’s and doctoral students who had assisted in the editing process including Vani Munisami (currently with Air Canada), Branislav Turcina (now with the European Commission), and Dhananga Patharina (currently working with Sri Lankan Airways).

In his own remarks, Professor de Mestral encouraged the students in the audience to become involved in book projects at the Institute. He offered the intriguing thought that the new book could already have a future successor in the guise of a collection of essays that assesses the performance of ICAO’s ambitious CORSIA programme.

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel Chairs ABA Celebration of 40th Anniversary of US Airline Deregulation - September 2018

At the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Forum on Air & Space Law, held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago on 27 and 28 September 2018, the IASL Director, Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel, chaired the opening panel marking the 40th anniversary of the signing of the US Airline Deregulation Act on 24 October 1978.

Mr. Jeffrey N. Shane, General Counsel of IATA, with IASL Director Professor Brian Havel. Professor Havel was joined on the stage by the General Counsel of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Jeffrey N. Shane, who was formerly Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy in the US Department of Transportation, as well as James H. Burnley IV, former US Secretary of Transportation 1987-89, and Paul V Mifsud, former KLM Vice President for Government and Legal Affairs in the United States.

A notable feature of the panel was the use of excerpts from filmed interviews conducted in past years by Professor Havel and other interlocutors with leaders of the deregulation era including former Chair of the US Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the late Professor Alfred E. Kahn, and former CAB senior director, the late Professor Michael E. Levine, both of whom paved the way for deregulation through a flexible interpretation of their CAB mandate to liberalise route entry and pricing even before the final passage of the new deregulation statute. IASL Director Professor Brian Havel hosting the opening panel at the ABA, with panelists Jeffrey N. Shane, James H. Burnley IV, and Paul V Mifsud.

Click here to see a compilation of the video extracts* used in the panel, also featuring contributions from legendary figures in U.S. aviation history including Frederick W. Smith, founder, Chairman, and CEO of FedEx, Robert L. Crandall, former CEO of American Airlines, former Governor Gerald L. Baliles of Virginia, who chaired President Clinton’s National Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry in 1993, and Mr. Shane.

*We are very grateful to FedEx Manager, Production, Grant Guffin and his team, led by Bradley Van Gunda, for creating this compilation.

Chinese Professor of Air Law Yu Dan Enthralls Students with Insights into how the Warsaw Convention Operates in China - September 2018

Sometimes it is  good to get new perspectives, and that is certainly what the new LL.M student cohort received in their Private International Air law class on 25 September 2018 when Professor Yu Dan, Associate Professor of Law at the prestigious East China University of Political Science in Shanghai, lectured on the application of the Warsaw/Montreal Convention on air carrier liability in the People's Republic of China. As well as updating students on some of the MH370 litigation that has occurred in China, Professor Yu Dan described the functioning of the Chinese court system and how Convention cases are assigned within that system. She also described a new series of “Guiding Cases” adopted by the Chinese court system which have de facto binding effect as a kind of “precedent” for various areas of law, and discussed a group of these cases that are of special relevance to aviation liability.

Professor Yu Dan has been a visiting professor at the Institute since fall 2017 and will return to her home institution at the end of October 2018. She is Director of her University’s Aviation Law Institute and her academic research focuses principally on Air Law and Private International Law. She graduated form Jilin University in 2012 with a Doctorate of Laws. She is a Council member of Shanghai Law Society Air Law Seminar and a member of the China Law Society. She has previously visited at UNIDROIT in Rome, where she authored a major report on the Cape Town Convention’s application in the People’s Republic of China. She has also participated in revising China’s Civil Aviaiton Law. Professor yu Dan is widely published, with over 10 articls in various journals to her credit.

Professor Yu Dan has been a wonderful colleague at the Institute and has also been a willing mentor to many of our students, to whom she has enthusiastically given advice and counsel and support on moot court questions and on research projects and dissertations. The Institute looks forward to maintaining our friendship with Professor Yu Dan and to working with her and East China University of Political Science for many years to come.

MILAMOS Experts at the First United Nations Conference on Space Law and Policy - September 2018

MILAMOS Experts Professor Steven Freeland (Western Sydney University), Professor Setsuko Aoki (University of Keio), Dr. Ksenia Shestakova (St Petersburg State University), Ms. Elina Morozova (INTERSPUTNIK) and Mr. Gabriel Swiney (US State Department) pictured here with Managing Editor Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen (McGill University) at the UN Conference on Space Law and Policy, which took place in Moscow, Russia.

Several members of the MILAMOS Group of Experts were invited to participate in the First United Nations Conference on Space Law and Policy, which took place in Moscow, Russia, on 11-13 September 2018. The first major multilateral capacity-building event of its kind, the Conference focused on topical legal and policy aspects of activities in outer space. The Conference was co-organised by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Government of the Russian Federation, and hosted by the Russian space agency ROSCOSMOS.

The UN Conference attracted the participation of over 100 delegates and invited participants from across the world. By bringing together State officials and representatives of intergovernmental organisations, scientists and technical experts in the space industry and the private space sector, students and academics, the Conference aimed to promote awareness and understanding of pertinent legal and policy issues in the peaceful use and exploration of outer space. On several panels focusing on various types of space activities, invited panelists openly exchanged their perspectives on possible opportunities and obstacles in a complex and strategic environment that in recent years has experience a proliferation of the number of actors and emergence of new types of space activities.

Among the issues addressed were the progressive development of international law, the legal challenges of space resources utilisation, and adequacy of the existing legal and technical framework for the implementation of a viable space traffic management regime. Engaging discussions between panelists and participants at the conference noted various challenges and threats to the safety, security and long-term sustainability of space activities. The Conference underlined the need to address military activities that undermine the peaceful uses of outer space, destabilise the space environment and threaten international peace and security.

Several participants, including the dignitaries representing host State Russia, highlighted the alarming developments in the threat or use of force in outer space and the placement of weapons in space. Further, the question of whether the right of self-defence is compatible with the peaceful purposes of outer space, triggered intriguing debates and a common understanding that such a fundamental issue must be prioritised as a matter of international discussion. These discussions among policy-makers, experts and practitioners in the space domain, highlight the need for a manual that clarifies the legality of various aspects of military uses of outer space, which is the very purpose and rationale behind the MILAMOS Project.

MILAMOS Experts Professor Steven Freeland (Western Sydney University), Professor Setsuko Aoki (Keio Univeristy), Dr. Philip de Man (University of Sharjah), Dr. Guoyu Wang (Beijing Institute of Technology), Dr. Ksenia Shestakova (St. Petersburg State University), Ms. Elina Morozova (INTERSPUTNIK), Mr. Gabriel Swiney (US Department of State), Mr. Chris Johnson (Secure World Foundation), and Managing Editor Mr. David Kuan-Wei Chen (McGill University), were among the invited participants at the Conference.

Mr. Johnson was invited to address ways and means for maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes. Dr. Aoki (Core Expert in the MILAMOS Project) was one of the distinguished speakers on the panel addressing legal aspects of space debris mitigation and remediation, a matter that is vital for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. Dr. Wang, Dr. de Man and Mr. Swiney were invited by the organisers to present their perspectives on the exploration and utilisation of space resources, a topical issue that attracted great interest and extensive discussion. Professor Freeland was a panellist in the segment dedicated to discussions on the viability of a future space traffic management regime on a panel co-moderated by Mr. Chen. Ms. Elina was invited by the Conference organisers to share her perspectives on how to strengthen capacity-building efforts in space law and policy, a panel that emphasised the role of education and training in ensuring that future generations value the importance of international coordination and cooperation to safeguard the peaceful uses of outer space.

No doubt, with salient issues relating to the security and long-term sustainability of outer space and space activities high on the agenda at the multilateral level, the MILAMOS Project and rules that aim to identify and clarify the legal situation in relation to military space activities, are sure to attract the interest and continuing support of States and stakeholders in the space domain.

IASL presents at UNISPACE+50 - June 2018

The Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) is proud to have been invited to present at UNISPACE+50, which took place on 18-21 June 2018 at the premises of the United Nations in Austria, Vienna. The long-anticipated, high-level meeting was organised to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE), an event that highlighted the importance of harnessing the peaceful use of outer space and space applications for the benefit of humanity. UNISPACE was organised in 1968, in 1982 and 1999.

UNISPACE+50 was convened to look back at the progress made in the last fifty years of space activities and discuss how space can continue to be a domain reserved for peaceful uses and unite humanity. The fiftieth anniversary of UNISPACE was as an opportunity for the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to bring together various stakeholders in the space domain to discuss the future of space in light of rapidly developing space ventures, a proliferation in the number of space actors, and growing concerns about the sustainability and security of space. UNISPACE+50 was also an opportunity for the UN to publicise and underline the importance of space to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

UNISPACE+50 began with a two-day Symposium composed of four major panels— Space and Industry, Space and Women, Space and Civil Society, and Space and Youth—each focused on a different aspect of how space can foster global development and cooperation, and create opportunities for various segments of society. Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen, Executive Director of the Institute’s research arm, the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, was among five participants invited by the United Nations to present on the “Space and Civil Society” panel of the Symposium. In his presentation, titled “Strengthening Space Law and Governance: Lessons from the Lecture Halls and Beyond”, Mr. Chen highlighted the unique approach of the McGill Institute to education, capacity-building and research in the domain of space law.

The first space law course was offered at the Institute in 1967, the same year as the adoption of the Outer Space Treaty. Reflecting the changes in the nature and regulation of space activities, two other courses were created throughout the years to ensure students and space professionals are well versed in the complex legal issues arising from various space applications, and knowledgeable about the growing trend and challenges arising from the adoption of national space legislation by States. Through a mixture of interactive lectures, guest lectures by renowned practitioners and academics, and an emphasis on an international, transsystemic and comparative approach to the study of law, the Institute remains the world’s leading academic institution in the field.

In line with the theme of the overarching theme of the Space and Civil Society panel, Mr. Chen further highlighted projects the Centre, as a civil society institution, is playing in bringing together and fostering cooperation and dialogue between different stakeholders in the space domain. The Global Space Governance Study, as well as the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS), are proud to have attracted the active participation and input of academics, governmental and intergovernmental experts, military officials, commercial and non-governmental stakeholder institutions from across the globe. As a crucial element of civil society, academic and research institutions such as the McGill Institute and Centre offer the neutral platform necessary for various actors and stakeholders in space to cooperate and reach consensus on matters relating to the sustainability, safety and security of the space domain which are otherwise too controversial and contentious to discuss, let alone reach agreement on, at the diplomatic level.

The IASL is proud to have been invited to be present at such a high-level forum, and to share its valuable work before a gathering of State representatives, academics and experts, and the international media. The occasion to take part at UNISPACE+50 is testament to the continuing mission of the Institute and Centre to provide first-class graduate level education, and spearhead innovative dialogue and research with global partners.