About the Institute of Air and Space Law

Intro image for IASL.

Welcome – Bienvenue

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) of the Faculty of Law of McGill University.

IASL was founded in 1951 by John Cobb Cooper. Before becoming the first Director of the Institute, he was acting as Counsel for the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In close cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and IATA, it was decided to establish an Institute within the McGill Faculty of Law, to offer courses of air law to graduate students and carry original research work in this subject matter. The Institute of Air Law expanded its scope in 1957 to become the Institute of Air and Space Law. In a visionary move, our predecessors understood the importance that space law, which was only a nascent discipline at that time, would acquire in the following decades. Their work, alongside other distinguished academics, accompanied the tremendous efforts undertaken by the international community to avoid conflict in space and encourage its peaceful use. In the meanwhile, the air transport sector evolved and was constantly met with new legal challenges: the still ongoing liberalization process, the critical issue of contractual liability, multifaceted security threats and the numerous legal questions raised by technological innovation to name a few.

The dramatic changes that occurred in the past decades demonstrated the necessity of a high-level legal expertise, for which academic institutions are vital. Thanks to the excellence of the previous directors, professors, researchers, and other staff members who served at the IASL and the quality of several generations of alumni, the expertise of the IASL in both disciplines is internationally recognized. Through numerous conferences and publications, most notably the Annals of Air and Space Law, the IASL contributes to the dissemination of knowledge and the enrichment of academic debates. The Institute provides high quality degree and certificate programs as well as lecture series that benefit international organizations, enterprises and legal firms with experts coming from all over the world, who constitute an amazing alumni network.

It is thanks to this invaluable legacy that we envisage the future of the Institute with an infinite hope and a strong sense of responsibility. Legal issues are constantly evolving, thus making our role as the world’s foremost Institute in Air and Space Law more crucial than ever. The air transport sector needs to continue its transformation to become a more environmentally friendly industry, while witnessing the blossoming of new forms of aerial mobility. Lower barriers to access space have redefined how businesses, governments, and research institutions use outer space, with technological innovations raising new topical legal issues and the growing population of human-made space objects leading to ever more congested orbits. At the same time, air and space activities have always been at the cutting edge of human advancement. Thus, we as an institute will seek diversity to bring a wide array of viewpoints to our teaching and research.

We welcome you to study with us at the D.C.L, LL.M., or Certificate level, to participate in our conferences, webinars, and seminars and to conduct or share your research with us. We most importantly encourage you to bring your ideas and perspectives. Air and space law are continuously evolving topics in a transforming world and the Institute’s doors are open to the current and future generations of specialists.

No words can really express how honored we feel to inscribe our names in continuation of the list of our illustrious predecessors and colleagues. We are also thankful and indebted towards Dr. Donal Patrick Hanley who served as Interim Director. His positive contributions to the reputation and future of the Institute after taking over from Professor Brian Havel leave us a wide path to success moving forward. We are delighted that he will continue working with us as Associate Professor and Associate Director. We also have the chance to continue working with former Director Prof. Ram Jakhu and benefit from his recognized experience and expertise.

Most importantly, IASL can count on its network of Adjunct Professors, alumni, industry and institutional partners in order to shape the future of air and space law, in one of the most multicultural cities in North America. The future is bright, and we are excited to invite you to join us in this ongoing adventure!

For further information please contact office.iasl [at] mcgill.ca.


Prof. Dr. Andrea Harrington

Associate Professor and Co-Director

Institute of Air and Space Law

Faculty of Law

McGill University


Prof. Dr. Vincent Correia

Professor and Co-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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