In 1944, the world community laid the groundwork for the establishment of the UN International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. ICAO' principal mission was to achieve international cooperation to ensure that the legal and regulatory regime governing aviation would be uniform across nations. One can imagine what a Tower of Babel international aviation would have become had ICAO's 191 current Member States adopted differing legal rules and standards. Without a harmonious legal and regulatory regime, the development of international aviation and space would have been seriously impeded.
By its very nature, aviation shrinks the planet, integrating disparate cultures and economies, and facilitating peaceful, prosperous and cooperative global order. Globalization has created interdependence among nations and peoples of the world, and air transportation has facilitated that interdependence.
Recognizing the critical role that legal education would play in facilitating integration of legal standards globally, in 1951, McGill University established the Institute of Air & Space Law (IASL) to provide graduate legal education for students from around the world. In the ensuing half century, IASL has educated some 800 students from 120 countries. Today, our graduates hold some of the highest positions in international organizations, governmental air transport ministries, airlines, and law firms around the world.
The Mission Statement
The objectives of the Institute of Air & Space Law are to:
- Educate the next generation of air and space lawyers to serve the needs of the air and space community worldwide. The IASL’s educational emphasis is graduate in character and international in scope. Since promulgation of the Warsaw Convention of 1929, the Chicago Convention of 1944, and the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a guiding principle of both private and public international Air and Space Law has been to create a standard universal and ubiquitous legal regime. By sending the IASL graduates far and wide with a solid educational background, McGill has facilitated that important objective of worldwide law harmonization.
- Offer IASL students the best graduate education in Air and Space Law available anywhere in the world. Though the IASL has been teaching Air and Space Law at McGill University for more than half a century, the Institute constantly strives to improve its educational programme. It has designed a curriculum relevant to the needs of its graduates, to provide a base of relevant practical and theoretical information and analytical and communications skills to enable its graduates to perform their professional duties proficiently.
- Publish interdisciplinary research valuable to governmental and multinational institutions, the airline and aerospace industries, and the legal profession. Since 1976, the IASL Centre for Research in Air & Space Law has published the Annals of Air & Space Law as well as books, reports, studies, and conference proceedings; the IASL faculty publishes widely in other legal periodicals as well. Our faculty also assists international organizations and governmental institutions in their efforts to advance Air and Space Law and policy.
- Serve the professional educational needs of the aviation and space law bar. The IASL’s workshops, conferences and seminars are attended by legal practitioners, government officials, industry leaders and professors from around the world. Over the years, the Institute has been visited by delegates from many nations seeking cutting edge information on emerging developments in Air and Space Law.
- Create a thriving intellectual environment and professional global network for the IASL faculty, students, graduates, and experts in the field. The IASL brings together some of the world’s premiere experts in Air and Space Law under one roof for research, informal discussions, class lectures, seminars and conferences.