About the Institute of Air and Space Law

Intro image for IASL.

Welcome – Bienvenue

Welcome to the website of the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) of the Faculty of Law of McGill University.

McGill University was founded in 1821 by Royal Charter and the Faculty of Law, the oldest in Canada, was founded in 1853. The role of Montreal as the capital of air and space law has its roots in the adoption of the Chicago Convention of 1944 and the consequent establishment in Montreal of the International Air Transport Association in 1945, the International Civil Aviation Organization in 1947 and the Institute of International Air Law, predecessor of the IASL, in 1951.

As the world’s leading institute of air and space law, we welcome you to learn more about us, to visit us and perhaps to come and study with us, whether by attending a webinar or conference, studying for a certificate, or master’s or doctoral degree, or pursuing research in your preferred area of air and space law. We place great emphasis on our dual civil and common law heritage, our bilingual English and French background, and our collaborative approach to our colleagues in other areas of research in the Faculty of Law, and our deep relations with key air and space institutions. In addition, our faculty members and students have for over seven decades produced some of the most cutting-edge scholarship, and we are proud to host the Annals of Air and Space Law, the world’s only bilingual journal specialised in the fields of air and space law.

By its nature, air and space travel are outward rather than inward looking, with air law helping to maintain contact within dispersed families and among different peoples, and generally, in my view, being a great antidote to xenophobia. Maintaining and developing the legal system which supports it in a way that is inclusive and sustainable is something to which you can make a real contribution.

It is an honour to serve as Interim Director of this illustrious institute following such a difficult period for everybody over the past few years. I pay particular tribute to my predecessors and colleagues, Professor Havel, previously the Director, and Professor Jakhu, previously the Acting Director, as well as to all my other colleagues here who helped to steer the IASL so successfully through a period of sustained turbulence. Thanks to them, we now have an opportunity, with you, to look to the future we want to build in air and space law.

Air law is often seen as the parent of space law, just as maritime law is seen as the parent of air law. Yet, with the advent of drones, air law can look to space law for guidance in certain areas. The teacher can become the pupil. We are thus in an unprecedented era of new possibilities along with challenges and that means good opportunities for our students and researchers. It is my hope that you will consider this an invitation not only to study with us but also to contribute your ideas in this exciting new environment.

For further information, please contact our Administrator, maria.damico [at] mcgill.ca (subject: IASL) (Maria D’Amico), or donal.hanley [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Message%20to%20the%20IASL%20Director) (me )directly.

Dr Donal Patrick Hanley, FRAeS

Associate Professor and Interim Director
Institute of Air and Space Law
Faculty of Law
McGill University

For more information about the Institute, its history, accomplishments and how to apply, please find the brochure 70 Years of Excellence in Air and Space Law here.


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