News and Activities in 2017

Below are the events and news from 2017:

IASL 2017 Holiday Party

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel speaking at the IASL Association Holiday Party.

The Institute of Air and Space Law Association (IASLA), the Institute’s very active alumni network, welcomed over 80 guests to its annual Holiday Party at the McGill Faculty Club on 1 December 2017. The Holiday Party is one of the Institute’s great traditions and is also a wonderful opportunity for current LLMs, DCLs, Certificate students and post-docs to mingle with their predecessors at the IASL.

Short speeches were given this year by Jimena Blumenkron, IASLA President, Dr. John Saba, IASLA Secretary,, and Professor Brian F. Havel, the new Director of the IASL.  As well as perusing the usual collection of photos from the reception, we thought website viewers might like to read the following extract from the new Director’s remarks:

Bonsoir à tous:

As well as our alumni, we are joined by the members of the IASL LLM and Certificate class of 2017-2018 – a class of 23 students from 18 countries, a most impressive group of individuals including a current member of the ICAO Council

This is a time of great renewal in the IASL as we consolidate existing programs and introduce new initiatives about which you will be hearing more during the coming year.

Next term Donal Hanley, one of the world’s top aircraft finance lawyers, will join the adjunct faculty, in effect succeeding our loyal friend Donald Bunker, to teach our new course in Aircraft Finance Law.

The Annals of Air and Space Law, our flagship publication now in its 41st year . . . will change to a twice-yearly format, and the first volume of the new-look Annals will appear in mid-year 2018 under the stewardship of our terrific new editor, Bruno Savoie, who promises to get it all done by July 31st, the day before he starts as an associate at  Toronto law firm BLG.  All of the Annals are now available online for the first time thanks to the efforts of David Chen, the newly-appointed Executive Director of our research arm, the Center for Research in Air and Space Law

The IASL alumni association is working with us to establish a formal internship program for our students and already IASL graduate Juliana Scavuzzi has organized a new IASL internship for next semester at the Airports Council International headquarters in Montreal.

I am delighted to be collaborating with your very dedicated IASLA President Jimena Blumenkron to update all of IASLA’s alumni information across five continents and to reach out to all members of the Association on a regular basis.  The contacts database is always expanding – for example, today we welcome Marios Seretis, LLM graduate and shortly to be a DCL graduate, who is now working as legal counsel at the Star Alliance headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, a true air law career for the 21st century.

And please look out for other initiatives coming in 2018, our  67th year of continuous operation, including the launch of the new IASL Foundation Advisory Board, the coming announcement of new FedEx research fellowships, a new intramural moot court competition, a new Colloquium in Air and Space law which began in the fall semester with former U.S. top State Department official John Byerly, chief U.S. negotiator for the historic 2007 U.S./EU open skies agreement, a new part-time LLM program for which our friends at ICAO and IATA have long advocated, year two of our massive space law project, the McGill Manual on the Military Uses of  Outer Space (MILAMOS), a number of international conferences, and much more.

For more pictures, please visit the Events page.

IASL Student Winner of the 2017 IAWA Scholarship

We are proud to announce that current IASL student Ms. Swarathmika Kumar is the winner of the 2017 International Aviation Womens Association (IAWA) Scholarship. Part of IAWA’s mission is to promote the professional development of women in aviation and aerospace and develop the next generation of leaders in these bourgeoning industries. The IAWA Scholarship is awarded based on merit to candidates majoring in law, management business or finance and who have a true passion for aviation.

Swarathmika hails from Bangalore, India, and is currently pursuing her L.L.M in Air and Space Law at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law. She obtained her law degree at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies (NUALS), Kochi, India. During her time at law school, Swarathmika represented her university and won accolades at many national and international moot court competitions. She was a semi-finalist at the Leiden Sarin International Air Law Moot Court Competition in 2016 at Jakarta. She pursued various internships alongside her legal education to gain a wider exposure to the legal field including those at the offices of Osborne Clarke, Cologne, and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. She also served as a member of the Editorial Board of the NUALS Law Journal from 2013-2015.

  “I am immensely grateful to have received the IAWA Scholarship this year”, Swarathmika said. “Attending [the IAWA] conference in Berlin in November was a truly inspiring experience. The conference was an opportunity to meet women with exceptional careers in aviation as well as the other scholarship recipients.”

Swarathmika expects aviation to play an important role in international relations and the prospect of being an early contributor in this field excites her intellectually. “Being able to interact with these women and learn from them was truly enriching and I am certain that this experience will play an important role in shaping my career in aviation.” Swarathmika is looking forward to acquiring experience in policy issues in this emerging domain, and hopes to channel this expertise towards building a career as a legal expert and policy maker in the larger multi-national context of aviation law.

Appointments of the new Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law and the new Editor of the Annals of Air and Space Law

The Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Kuan-Wei (David) Chen as the new Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (CRASL) and Mr. Bruno Savoie as the new Editor of the Annals of Air and Space Law.

Mr. Chen (LLM’12) is Sessional Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of McGill University and the Deputy Project Manager of the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS).  A former Boeing Fellow in Air and Space Law, for the past five years Mr. Chen has fulfilled various functions at the CRASL, including serving as the Editor of the Annals (2012-2015) and later as the Director of Publications.

The new Editor of the Annals, Mr. Savoie, served for more than a year as an Assistant Editor of the Centre’s flagship publication during his time as a law student at McGill. A native speaker of French and English, Mr. Savoie has worked at law firms in Singapore and Toronto, and was a Research Assistant for the book Global Space Governance: An International Study published by Springer in 2017.

The dual appointment of these promising talents to key positions at the CRASL is part of the strategy of the new IASL Director, Professor Brian F. Havel, to revitalise the Centre and to solidify McGill’s status as the world’s foremost research and educational institution in the fields of air and space law.  Among the innovative objectives that will be realised in the coming period is the digitalisation of the Centre’s publications, which recently began with a partnership with renowned publisher WS Hein.  Further, to increase the reach and accessibility of the world’s foremost bilingual journal in the domain of air and space law, the Annals will become a biannual publication starting with its next volume in mid-2017.

The Public International Law Class of 2017

Students celebrate the conclusion of Professor Brian F. Havel’s inaugural course in Public International Air Law on 6 December 2017. Joined by his teaching colleagues Ludwig Weber and David Chen, Professor Havel, the new IASL Director, treated the students to a giant chocolate layer cake decorated with the national flags of the 18 nations which are represented by the students in the IASL class of 2017-18.

IASL students visit Air Canada Headquarters

On 20 November 2017, a group of 30 students enjoyed the unique opportunity to visit the headquarters of Air Canada located in Montreal airport. Under the hospitality and guidance of employees at Air Canada, they were given a special tour of the crew training facilities, the maintenance hangar, and enjoyed lectures by seasoned professionals at the legal and regulatory affairs department and the network planning department of Canada's flag carrier.

The visit was a special occasion to learn about the fascinating issues and challenges of operating in the competitive airline industry. There, students  gained first-hand understanding on how, through a variety of innovative business practices and careful management and planning, Air Canada is recognised as one of the top air carriers in North America. The visit was made possible with the kind assistance of IASL alumna and Adjunct Professor Martine de Serres, who teaches Government Regulation of Air Transport on offer in the Winter semester.

IASL Alumni Participate in United Nations/UAE  High Level Forum 2017

(from left to right) IASL alumni Dr. Roy Balleste, Ms. Michelle Hanlon, Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen and Mr. Humaid Alshamsi at the UN/UAE High Level Forum

On 6-9 November 2017, the second United Nations/United Arab Emirates (UN/UAE) High Level Forum was held in Dubai. Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen, the newly-appointed Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, as well as two alumni of the Institute of Air and Space Law, Ms. Michelle Hanlon and Dr. Roy Balleste, each presented at the High Level Forum.
Under the theme “Space as a Driver for Socio-Economic Sustainable Development”, the High Level Forum was organised jointly by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency.  It is the second in a series of fora aimed at providing the world’s space community with a platform for exchanging ideas and addressing various cross-sectoral issues and challenges that have a bearing on space activities. The High Level Forum attracted over 150 participants from around the world, among whom were subject matter experts in academia, policy-makers and regulators, space entrepreneurs, and space scientists and engineers.  The Forum was instrumental in creating interaction between stakeholders who are involved in various economic, environmental, social, policy and regulatory dimensions of space in pursuit of global sustainable development.

In the run-up to UNISPACE+50, the High Level Forum brought together ideas and presentations related to the established pillars of Space Economy, Space Society, Space Accessibility and Space Diplomacy. Together, these four pillars form the foundations of the Space 2030 Agenda, which is aimed at identifying and strengthening the contribution of space activities to fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Forum was an opportunity to explore the interactions and interlinkages between these four pillars and concluded with several observations and recommendations in preparation for UNISPACE+50 and beyond.

Mr. Chen was invited to speak first in the panel on Space Diplomacy, which with the participation of nine other prominent speakers, focused on the need for regulatory frameworks and mechanisms at national, regional and global levels to further the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. Mr. Chen’s presentation, entitled “Improved Global Space Governance and New Opportunities for the Future”, draws on the Global Space Governance Study undertaken and led by the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law. Pursuant to the 2014 Montreal Declaration on Global Space Governance, the Study is an international and interdisciplinary examination of the drivers of space activities. The proliferation of space activities and actors in recent years has led to a recognised need to identify and address issues, challenges and opportunities that space applications and space activities present, and the need to establish a governance regime that will ensure the peaceful and sustainable exploration and exploitation of outer space for the benefit of all humankind. The presentation described the origins and rationale for the Study, and offered the Forum some concrete examples and suggestions of how the Global Space Governance Study will be useful in informing the discussions surrounding UNISPACE+50, which will be taking place at the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna in June 2018.  Indeed, in collaboration with UNOOSA, efforts are currently under way to ensure that all delegates at UNISPACE+50 will be provided with a copy of the Study.

Speaking on a panel outlining international initiatives and case studies aimed at securing the use of space for the benefit of humankind, Ms. Hanlon presented on an innovative global endeavour to preserve the historic landing sites on the Moon and beyond. Current law governing outer space is silent about the conservation of lunar landing and similar sites in outer space, which are a fundamental part of human heritage. These sites are unique and irreplaceable cultural and scientific resources with scientific and archaeological value deserving of protection from intentional or accidental disturbance or desecration.

Ms. Hanlon is co-founder of For All Moonkind, Inc, a non-profit organisation working with public institutions and private companies around the world to preserve humankind’s first footsteps in outer space. For All Moonkind boasts a volunteer of lawyers (including fellow McGill alums Humaid Alshamsi, Roy Balleste, Andrea Harrington and Ranjana Kaul), policymakers (including McGill alum Gilles Doucet), archaeologists, historians and communications experts from around the globe working together to educate the public about the need to preserve our cultural heritage in space, as well as the importance of space in general.  Professor Ram Jakhu was one of the first members of the Leadership Board of the organisation, which is also preparing a Convention on the Preservation of Human Heritage in Outer Space for consideration by the United Nations and the international community. 

The third presentation by IASL alumn Dr. Balleste focused on the concept of “Thor's Hammer” and the legal implications of anti-satellite weapons and cyberspace activities on human development in the final frontier.

MILAMOS Workshop III held in Colorado Springs, United States of America

The third 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 on 9-13 October 2017 at Colorado Springs in the United States of America.

Attended by over 40 experts and researchers involved in the Project, MILAMOS Workshop III was held at the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy. The plenary deliberations and closed research group meetings took place in the impressive Polaris Hall, a modern tower pointing directly towards Polaris, the North Star, symbolising the unwavering commitment of the USAF to good leadership and integrity. Polaris Hall was the result of public-private partnership and support coming from all sectors of society, and built to function as a forum bringing together instructors, cadets, military leaders, and public and private officials. The symbolic overtures of the impressive setting of Workshop III echoes the vision and values of MILAMOS—which are to bring together and promote interaction and dialogue between legal and technical experts, academics, military officers, government officials, and other stakeholders in the private and public sector who commonly believe in the importance of a manual that clarfies the law applicable to the whole spectrum of military activities in outer space.

Among the rules and issues discussed at MILAMOS Workshop III was what constitutes “military space activity”. The precise definition is crucial in delimiting the scope of the McGill Manual, and will no doubt form the foundation of many rules in a manual that covers the full spectrum of permissible military activities and operations in peacetime, in times of rising tension, and during armed conflict. Other rules presented at plenary for discussion and adoption by the International Group of Experts include rules and associated commentary on:

  • the application of international law to outer space,
  • the meaning and scope of “national space activities” under Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty,
  • the principle of non-intervention, and
  • what constitutes an international armed conflict in the context of outer space.

While the USAF Academy hosted Workshop III, in the interest of maintaining the integrity and neutrality of the manual-drafting process the USAF and US Government neither provided input on the contents of the rules nor influenced the discussions that took place. The Academy’s decision to host was based only on its recognition, in common with many stakeholders and institutions around the world, of the great importance and value of the work undertaken by the MILAMOS Group of Experts.

Observers from the USAF Academy and officers from the USAF were present at some plenary sessions to gain insight into the manual-drafting and consensus-forming process.  Several Academy cadets were also present as Rapporteurs, which gave them a first-hand opportunity to watch experts and practitioners discussing and forming a consensus on pertinent and cross-connected issues of international space law, the law governing the use of force, and international humanitarian law.

Ms. Cynda Arsenault, the President of the Secure World Foundation, a Supporting Institution of the MILAMOS Project, attended the Workshop as an Observer. A substantial proportion  of the seed money to launch the Project (in the order of $300,000) originated from the Erin JC Arsenault Fund at McGill University. The Fund was established to promote research in strengthening the rule of law and global space governance and space security. In addition, a high-level Observer from the People’s Republic of China attended some of the proceedings, and was present to meet members of the Project Management Board and to discuss opportunities for greater involvement of Chinese participants and institutions. Since the launch of MILAMOS in 2016, the engagement of States and stakeholders from leading spacefaring nations and emerging space powers has always been a primary objective of the Project leadership. General John Raymond, Commander of the US Air Force Space Command, addressed the MILAMOS participants in an inspiring speech.

General John Raymond, Commander of the US Air Force Space Command, addressed the MILAMOS participants in an inspiring speech.
Welcoming participants to the USAF Academy, Colonel Linell Ami Lentendre, Head of the Department of Law, and Vice Superintendent Col. David A. Harris Jr., each underlined the Academy’s pleasure and honour in hosting a gathering of experts who represent not only several legal disciplines but are also representative of diverse perspectives across the globe.  Keynote speaker General John W. “Jay” Raymond delivered an inspiring address to the MILAMOS Group of Experts. The four-star general is the Commander of the US Air Force Space Command, located at nearby Peterson Air Force Base, and graciously broke from his busy schedule to commend the MILAMOS Group of Experts for their collective efforts.  Describing the Group most positively as “enlightened space professionals”, General Raymond noted that preserving the space domain for the common good requires States and people around the world to partner together.  It is not in the interest of any State to use military force  in space, but space has the potential to become a domain for warfare, just like any terrestrial domain. In the General’s view, a manual like MILAMOS is essential to preserving peace and security in a domain vulnerable to a whole variety of challenges. Earlier this year, General Raymond was present at a space conference in Israel and his talk on emerging threats for space assets immediately preceded a presentation on the MILAMOS Project.

In sum, MILAMOS Workshop III benchmarks the tremendous progress that has been made to date.  While challenges in drafting a manual that is relevant for practitioners in the field and that is also accessible for a broader audience were identified, the MILAMOS Group of Experts is hopeful that the McGill Manual is on a solid track to completion.  The next workshop will be held in Montreal, Canada, and will again be hosted by McGill University, one of the Founding Institutions of the MILAMOS Project.

IASL Alumna wins prestigeous Young Space Leaders Award

The IASL is proud to announce that our recent DCL graduate, Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty (2017), is a recipient of the Young Space Leaders 2017 Award from the International Astronautic Federation (IAF). The award was presented at the 68th International Astronautical Congress, held in Adelaide, Australia on 25-29 September 2017. The Young Space Leaders Award is awarded annually to recognise exceptional students and young professionals who demonstrate leadership in their early academic and professional careers. In particular, award recipients are recognised for, among other achievements, their contributions to astronautics through their academic and/or professional activities and their efforts in sharing their knowledge and experience with other young people.

Throughout Timi’s time at McGill University, she was deeply involved in community outreach events and initiatives, dedicating many of her efforts to raising awareness of the benefits of space applications and technology to development in her native Nigeria. Timi was previously the Executive Director of the World Space Week Association, coordinating the global response to the UN-declared World Space Week. Further, Timi was a member of the Nigerian delegation to the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in 2011, and was nominated by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs to represent Africa in its 50th year celebration of women in space, based in part on initiatives she supported in Africa, including the establishment of the African Regional Rounds of the IISL Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Competition and the NASA Space Apps challenge in Nigeria. She has previously also worked at the Nigerian Space Agency in Legal Affairs and International Cooperation and was a space industry consultant for Montreal-based Euroconsult. In addition to these accomplishments, Timi has lectured at the Faculty of Law, University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada and the United Nations African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education.

“It is a testament to the 10 years of hard work I have put into the space sector”, Timi said. “The past 2 years has been amazing as I have won 4 awards including the George Robinson Space Law Prize from McGill University for my PhD thesis, the Airbus Leadership award from the Women in Aviation International organization and an award for International Women’s Day for a significant contribution to Quebec society”.

Timi is Associate Chair, Space Policy, Economics and Law at the International Space University Space Studies Program, and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) based in Waterloo, Canada.

“My McGill experience really set me up for success, ” she observes.  During her time at the IASL, she represented Nigeria at the UN international Civil Aviation Organization model council, and participated in the North American regional rounds of the Manfred Lachs space law moot competition. As the recipient of the Erin JC Arsenault Fellowship, Timi also received financial support from the Institute, and was able to organise a space law capacity-building workshop for lawyers in Nigeria.

Timiebi holds a D.CL. and an LL.M. in Air and Space Law from McGill University, and her doctoral research focused on the concept of “common benefit”, and received the George S. and Ann K. Robinson Space Law Prize for exhibiting advanced research capabilities and an original contribution to space jurisprudence. For rising academics and young professionals, Timi had these words of advice to share: “I am encouraged to keep working hard because even if it sometimes looks like others are flying past you, with determination and persistence, hard work does pay off and is rewarded”.


McGill Co-Hosts Major ABA Conference in Montreal
14-15 September 2017

On 14 and 15 September 15 2017, the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) co-hosted the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on Air and Space Law in the Institute’s home city of Montreal. The McGill/ABA collaboration is a triennial event and is one of the most significant events in the Institute’s calendar. The collaboration was initiated by former IASL Director Professor Dr. Paul S. Dempsey, who continues to represent the Institute in working with our ABA colleagues to organise the Montreal meeting.

Nearly 200 delegates gathered for two days of intensive discussion of aviation and space issues ranging from the Trump Administration’s likely approach to aviation infrastructure to a robust discussion of labor/management relations in the global air transport industry. ICAO Secretary-General Dr. Fang Liu spoke in her keynote address about the Organization’s work on establishing international principles for the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (so-called “drones”) and sub-orbital aircraft, and also announced a new initiative to gather young aviation professionals at a summit in ICAO’s headquarters later this year. The Institute also played its part in the proceedings. IASL Professor and former Director Ram Jakhu joined in a lively expert panel on the challenges of developing new legal regimes for space law. Professor Dr. Paul Dempsey chaired an international panel on air traffic rights and had some provocative questions on the current policy debate on airline subsidies.  IASL master’s, doctoral, certificate, and exchange students also attended many of the panel sessions and posed a variety of questions from the floor. 

Newly-installed Institute Director Professor Brian F. Havel delivered the first luncheon keynote address of the event, focusing on the aviation issues presented by the impending departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union (“Brexit”). Professor Havel noted the UK Government’s own uncertainty about what Brexit will entail, and forecast several dramatic consequences for UK airlines if a “hard” Brexit were to occur. But he predicted that aviation negotiators, accustomed to pragmatism, will eventually work out ways for UK and EU airlines to continue to offer cross-channel air services after the official Brexit date in March 2019. “As some have said, it’s not like the telephones will go dead or the Channel Tunnel will be bricked up on Brexit Day, we’ll still have air service,” he remarked. Professor Havel used the EU’s own published documentation to chart a path to a soft Brexit for aviation, but he also argued that Brexit presents an opportunity for the UK to transform global air transport by unilaterally abolishing the rule that virtually all States enforce against foreign ownership and control of their domestic airlines (the so-called “nationality rule”) and challenging other aviation powers to do likewise.

As noted above, the McGill/ABA collaboration in Montreal takes place every three years and will return in 2020. We hope that the beautiful weather that the delegates enjoyed this September will reappear on that occasion.

For more information about the conference, please visited the dedicated website.

IASL student part of the Canadian Space Agency's delegation at the 68th International Astronautical Congress

The Institute of Air and Space Law is proud to announce that Ermanno Napolitano, an LLM candidate at the Institute, will be taking part at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) as part of a select group of students chosen and sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) under its Student Participation Initiative.

As part of its commitment to helping train the next generation of space professionals, the CSA has selected 10 outstanding Canadian students to participate in the IAC and additional activities organised by the International Space Education Board (ISEB) and the Space Generation Congress (SGC) in support of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications. Ermanno is the only McGill student and the only law student to be selected by the CSA for the grant. Within the programme, he received two separate bursaries to take part in activities at the SGC and IAC, which this year will be held respectively between 21-23 September and 25-29 September 2017.

The International Astronautical Congress (IAC), organised by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), is an annual event where various space stakeholders – scientists, researchers, engineers, space agencies, policy-makers, astronauts, and private industry – meet to share their latest research, information and developments. This important congress, the world’s largest space-related conference, will be hosted this year by the Space Industry Association of Australia and will this year take place in Adelaide, Australia. Under the theme of “Unlocking Imagination, Fostering Innovation, and Strengthening Security” in space, the 68th IAC will cover themes such as upcoming manned missions to Mars, asteroids mining, suborbital flights, cube sats, space debris, private space stations, human settlement on the moon, telecommunications challenges, etc. At this groundbreaking event, among the presenters will be Elon Musk, an inspiring model for many young professionals, who will be disclosing updates on Space X’s mission to Mars.

Every year, the CSA organises the Student Participation Programme, together with Japanese space agency JAXA, the French agency CNES, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the American agency NASA, with the aim of supporting the attendance of the next generation of students and young professionals to attend IAC sessions and activities. This is a key opportunity for students to exchange information, ideas and for networking with future professional peers. Many activities of the Programme will be held at the International Student Zone (ISZ), the exhibition area set up for the students to meet, interact with each other and present their work. During these activities, the students selected by the CSA will have the opportunity to meet with and direct questions to the chiefs of seven space agencies, including NASA and the North Korean Space Agency.

While being part of the Canadian-sponsored student delegation and representing McGill and its Institute of Air and Space Law, Ermanno will also present a study on selected legal issues that the Government of Australia may wish to address in the drafting of the new Australian Space Activities Act. This comprehensive national space legislation was first adopted in 1998, and efforts are under way to review and update the Act.  Ermanno’s presentation and paper will focus in part on issues to consider in promoting the development of commercial suborbital human flights and, more broadly, on some key legal steps Australia could take towards commercial space entities to play a leading role in space within the Asia-Pacific region. IASL graduate student Ermanno Napolitano with other student delegates at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Ermanno was the only McGill students chosen and sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to take part at the world's largest gathering of space stakeholders.

IASL graduate student Ermanno Napolitano with other student delegates at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Ermanno was the only McGill students chosen and sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to take part at the world's largest gathering of space stakeholders
In addition, Ermanno will also present a study he has co-authored with Tomasso Sgobba and Isabelle Rongier from the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS). The study focuses on the key role safety plays in the space industry and on how a third-party safety certification of space systems could facilitate the development of the industry.

Ermanno has a strong passion for aerospace law. He is particularly interested governmental regulation of space activities. His master’s thesis, supervised by Professor Dr. Ram Jakhu, focuses on the legal challenges of the future of suborbital human space travel and deals with the application of the two distinct regimes of air and space law to suborbital vehicles including legal issues that need to be addressed to facilitate the emergence and safe operation of the aerospace industry.  Ermanno seeks through his work to provide arguments and foundations for the development of appropriate national space laws and policies to foster the growth of a robust private space sector and strengthen the role of the federal space agency in Canada.

The IASL co-sponsors the APSCO Space Law & Policy Forum - July 2017

The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law is proud to co-sponsor the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) Space Law & Policy Forum 2017, which was held on 10-12 July 2017 in Harbin, China. This is the fourth biannual event of its kind, and serves as a high-level platform for discussions and exchange with the aim of promoting space law and policy among APSCO Member States.

The theme of this year’s Forum centred on “Satellite Usages and the Developments in Space Law & Policy”, and the event was jointly organised by the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT). Among other internationally recognised space law experts and academics, Dr. Tanveer Ahmad (Executive Director, Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (CRASL)) and Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen (Director of Publications, CRASL) were invited to speak at the Forum. Dr. Ahmad delivered welcoming remarks on behalf of the Institute and Centre, and had the honour of chairing the Opening Session of the Forum, which involved, among others, Mr. Niklas Hedman (UN Office for Outer Space Affairs) and IASL alumna Professor Setsuko Aoki (Keio University). Mr. Chen presented on the Centre’s seminal Global Space Governance Study and provided participants with findings and insight on developments and challenges in the use of satellite applications.

Prior to the Forum, on 4-8 July, APSCO also organised the Training Course on Space Law & Policy. The Training Course was organised with the aim to promote space law education and outreach, and 40 participants and students from various APSCO Member States took part in the course. Among other topics and issues, Dr. Ahmad and Mr. Chen also lectured to the participants on, among other subject matters, the need for national space legislation, on the regulation of remote sensing, and the legal and policy considerations of global navigation satellite service (GNSS).

APSCO is an intergovernmental space organisation established with the aim of promoting and strengthening regional and international cooperation and exchange in the peaceful use of space applications and technology in the Asia-Pacific region. The IASL is honoured to be the co-sponsor of this year’s Forum, and this event has sown the seeds for future cooperation and exchange between APSCO and the Institute.

IASL alumni were well represented at the APSCO Space Law & Policy Forum. From left to right, Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen (LLM, 2008); Professor Setsuko Aoki (DCL, 1986); Dr. Aliakbar Golroo, Director of the Iranian Space Agency (LLM, 1987); and Dr. Tanveer Ahmad (LLM, 2008; DCL 2012).

IASL Alumni at MILAMOS Workshop II in New Delhi, India - June 2017

On the sidelines of the second rule-drafting workshop of the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) Project, several IASL alumni took an opportunity to reconnect and take a group picture at the Gymkhana Club in central New Delhi.IASL graduates can be found all over the world. With the unique skillset and knowledge they gain during their time at the Institute, many alumni move on to occupy notable positions in law firms, international organisations, research and academic institutions, and the defences forces.

From left to right: Dr. Sanat Kaul (former Indian Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization), Lt. Col. Sarah Mountin (Chief, Administrative Law, US Air Force Global Strike Command); Col. Rob Holman (Deputy Judge Advocate General, Military Justice, Canada); Dr. Ranjana Kaul (Partner at Dua Associates, Advocates and Solicitors); Professor Ram Jakhu (Director of the Institute of Air and Space Law); Mr. Duncan Blake (University of Adelaide, Australia); Mr. Gilles Doucet (space security consultant, Canada); Mr. Kuan-Wei Chen (Deputy Project Manager, MILAMOS Project); and Dr. Tanveer Ahmad (Executive Director, Centre for Research in Air and Space Law).

Director Brian F. Havel takes the helm

We are pleased to announce that Professor Brian F. Havel has joined the Faculty and officially taken over as the 13th Director of the IASL as of August 1st.

Professor Havel takes the helm at the Institute after it recently celebrated 65 years in existence. “The IASL is remarkably enduring for an academic institute, a testament to the outstanding teaching and scholarship for which it is recognized worldwide,” said Professor Havel. “The next five years will be key years of shaping the Institute for its 70th anniversary, coinciding with the bicentennial of McGill University itself. We hope to make our 70th birthday year the Institute’s most successful ever,” he added.

Key priorities include strengthening relationships with the many aviation and space institutions that make their home in Montreal, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, as well as creating new opportunities to support teaching and research through partnerships in Canada and throughout the world. Read more...

Tanveer Ahmad appointed Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Md Tanveer Ahmad has been named the Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (CRASL).

Dr. Ahmad (LLM'10, DCL'16), is an Arsenault postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, the Editor of the Annals of Air and Space Law, and an Assistant Professor of Law (on leave) at the North South University, Bangladesh. During his doctoral studies, he held the prestigious Assad Kotaite Fellowship of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Boeing Fellowship in Air & Space Law.

Founded in 1976 by Dr. Nicolas Matte, the CRASL performs multidisciplinary research on technical, economic, policy and legal implications of a variety of aviation and aerospace issues. The Centre also produces several publications, among which the Annals of Air and Space Law, the world’s only bilingual journal in the field. Through various conferences and symposia, the Centre has been at the frontline of promoting research and capacity-building in the highly specialised domain of aviation and space law over the past four decades. Most notably, the Centre has spearheaded the International Study on Global Space Governance and, together with the University of Adelaide, is leading the ground-breaking project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS), which aims to promote the sustainability and security in the final frontier.

As its Executive Director, Dr. Ahmad will oversee the Centre's many outreach and research programs. With his professional experience and academic credentials, Dr. Ahmad will play important role in revitalising the Centre and cementing the Faculty of Law’s position as the world’s foremost research and educational institution in the areas of air and space law.

Executive Summary of the Global Space Governance Study now available

The Executive Summary of the two-year Global Space Governance Study is now available. As one of flagship projects of the the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, the Study is the most comprehensive examination of developments in the domain of outer space activities and the regulations and standards that govern these activities. Led by edtiors Professor Ram Jakhu and Dr. Joseph Pelton, the Study is an international, interdisciplinary and geographically- and politically-neutral study on global space activities and global space governance. It drew on the expertise and input of over one hundred legal, technical, governmental, and commercial space professionals from around the world.

In recognition of the Study's impact and influence on the future of space activities and outer space in general, the findings of the Global Space Governance Study is highly anticipated to lay down much of the groundwork and impetus for the UNISPACE+50 conference in 2018. The findings of the Study, particularly due to the input of highly-recognised experts, professionals and stakeholders in the space domain, will provide effective guidance and contribute meaningfully to the objective of "Space as a driver for socio-economic sustainable development".

The book, titled The International Study on Global Space Governance, will be published and made available in the course of 2017 by Springer Press. The introductory remarks of the pending publication are penned by Mr. David Kendall (Chair of UNCOPUOS 2016-2017) and Dr. Simonetta di Pippo (Director of UNOOSA).

The Executive Summary contains key findings and proposals from the Study that will prove valuable to academics, law and policy-makers, practitioners and stakeholders in the space domain. It includes various tables that summarise and list problems and issues considered by the Group of Experts followed by recommendations for possible reforms and innovations in Global Space Governance.

Download the Executive Summary.

Shedding light on the rules for the final frontier
By Brenda Branswell, McGill News, April 2017

For many of us, outer space is the stuff of sci-fi movies or star-gazing.

For Ram Jakhu, LLM’78, DCL’83, it’s the focus of his research in an area he acknowledges is largely unknown to those outside the academic community — space law. Jakhu, the director of McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law, is spearheading two international projects that tackle weighty topics, such as the rules that apply to the military use of outer space and the growing problem of space debris. Keep reading

Recent thesis defenses: Isavella Vasilogeorgi and Andrea Harrington

The IASL is proud to announce that two of its graduate students have completed their degree with flying colours!

20 April 2017: Andrea Harrington (centre, seen here with her jury) successfully defended her doctoral thesis, “Governing activities in outer space: responsibility, liability, regulation and the role of insurers”, which was written under the supervision of Professor Ram Jakhu (second from left).

6 April 2017: Isavella Vasilogeorgi (centre) successfully defended her thesis, “Jurisdictional implications from the use of hybrid aerospace objects: at the crossroads of regenesis and redefinition”, which was written under the supervision of Professor Ram Jakhu (3rd from right).

Workshop I of the MILAMOS Project held in Adelaide, Australia - February 2017

More than 50 legal experts, technical experts, researchers and others came together in Adelaide over the period 20–22 February 2017 for the first MILAMOS Workshop. Following the preliminary coordination Workshop in October 2016 in Montreal, this was the first of a set of nine Workshops to reach consensus on draft Rules and Commentaries for the prospective McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (McGill Manual).

The MILAMOS members who were gathered together in Adelaide tackled several of the most foundational rules (and their associated commentary), as well as complex issues at the intersection of international space lLaw, iInternational humanitarian law and international law on the use of force. The MILAMOS Project remains on track to publish the McGill Manual in 2020. This Workshop was very successful and set a solid foundation for the following Workshops. The next MILAMOS Workshop is expected to be 20–23 June 2017 in New Delhi, India.

For more information on the Workshop and the Project, please visit the dedicated MILAMOS Project website.

Obituary: Professor Martin Bradley (1929 - 2017)

On 26 February 2017, Prof. Martin Anthony Bradley passed away at the age of 87. He was the last of, what I call, the first generation of incredible teachers, who laid the solid foundation of air and space law education at the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) of McGill University. Consequently, they paved the way for formal academic teaching in this field in the world.  Coming from his native Australia, Bradley enrolled in the 1956-57 Master of Laws class of the Institute and earned his LL.M. with a thesis on Air Carrier's Liability in Australia.

When he joined the IASL as a Professor, after many years of work as a technical assistance expert at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, the subject of his thesis became the basis for his teaching both the International Private Air Law and Government Regulation of Air Transport. In addition to the publication of several scholarly articles, he co-edited, with Edward McWhinney, two books entitled The Freedom of the Air and New Frontiers in Space Law, both published in 1969. They contained very highly scholarly papers by several early scholars in the field of air and space with ideas that were groundbreaking at the time and till this day still remain relevant. These books were used by students, government officials and practitioners in various countries.

During more than three decades of dedicated service at the IASL, Prof. Bradley inspired, taught, and helped hundreds of students from numerous countries, most of whom them have been holding high professional positions in the field of air and space law. They all remain indented to this great teacher (a real guru) with incredible humanistic values. I am one of them, as I was admitted to the IASL on his personal recommendation.

Thank you, Prof. Bradley.

Ram S. Jakhu, Director, Institute of Air and Space Law

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