News and Activities in 2018

Below are the events and news from 2018:

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

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

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

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

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

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 LL.M programme, 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

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

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

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 held in Montreal, Canada

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.

And... a Recent Reunion at the Institute

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

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

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

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

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 represented at UNISPACE+50

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.

IASL Director facilitated ICAO Council Off-Site Strategy Meeting COSM 2018

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel speaking at the ICAO Council Off-Site Strategy Meeting.
This year’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council Off-Site Strategy Meeting, entitled “Aviation of the Future”, was facilitated by IASL Director Brian F. Havel. This fifth off-site meeting of the ICAO Council was held in Estérel, Québec from 21 to 22 June 2018.

For two months, Professor Havel worked with the ICAO Implementation, Strategy and Planning Group (ISPG) to elaborate the content of the meeting and the issues to be addressed.

Thirty-four Council Members, ten non-Council Member State Representatives, four Members of the Air Navigation Commission (ANC) and three representatives from the aviation industry (the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA)) participated in the meeting, as well as members of the Secretariat from Headquarters and the Regional Offices.

A major focus of the COSM was the role ICAO should play in responding to rapid technological changes, including the emergence of new modes of aerospace transport.

The President of the Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, a graduate of the McGill IASL, opened the meeting by providing his views on the need for the Organization to maintain its relevance in the face of emerging disruptive technologies. The President also identified priority areas that would need to be addressed by the ICAO in the future, such as the level of safety for commercial space flights as compared to the existing safety levels for air transport and liability issues.

The chair of the ISPG, McGill IASL graduate Captain Aysha Alhameli, highlighted the significance of ICAO’s social responsibility to foster the development of safe, efficient, secure and sustainable civil aviation systems and the need to start preparing today in order to meet the challenges of civil aviation in the future.

During the two-day meeting, Professor Havel moderated discussions related to ICAO’s mandate and regulatory role regarding disruptive aviation technologies such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS, i.e., “drones”), ICAO’s responsibility to society as a whole, the need for ICAO’s leadership in the future, ICAO’s need to enhance its partnerships with aviation stakeholders, and the future of work in the aviation sector.

Professor Havel holding an original copy of the Chicago Convention, which was signed by then US Secretary of State Edward Stettinius. This signed copy of one of the most important treaties governing international aviation was a source of great wonderment to the retreat participants.

The meeting was punctuated by breakout table discussions that focused on areas such as the lessons learned in addressing the emergence of UAS and the rapid growth in their use, as well as the future challenges associated with the emergence of commercial space flight. The COSM also benefited greatly from an impromptu panel of young people who provided their insights into their career goals and their possible aspirations to pursue a future as aviation professionals.


IASL Director Addresses CAPA Americas Aviation Summit

IASL Director Brian F. Havel was presenter and moderator for a panel on North Atlantic airline competition at the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) Americas Aviation Summit in Houston, Texas, on 16 April 2018.  Professor Havel was joined on the panel by Brian P. Hedberg, Director of the Office of International Aviation at the U.S. Department of Transportation, and Tamur Goudarzi Pour, Vice President, Americas, for the Lufthansa Group. CAPA, one of the world’s leading sources of market intelligence for the aviation and travel industry, is headed by Peter Harbison, a graduate of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law.  You can view the panel discussion on CAPA's website.   

IASL celebrates with its Annual Graduate Dinner

IASL faculty and staff (front row) and students of the class of 2017-2018 at the Graduation Dinner

The Institute of Air and Space Law Association (IASLA) held its 67th Annual Graduate Dinner at the McGill Faculty Club on 12 April 2018. This festive event is held annually at the conclusion of the academic year and, true to tradition, students from the graduating class of 2018 were inducted into the Association by IASLA Vice President of External Relations Dr. John Saba and duly awarded their special alumni lapel pins.

Over 60 faculty members, graduates, alumni and friends of the IASL Association attended the celebratory occasion.  It was the first IASLA Annual Dinner since Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel assumed the Directorship of the Institute 1 August 2017. Professor Havel used the occasion to recap many of the highlights of the year as well as to lay out ambitious plans for the coming years.  He noted that his priority in the academic year just ending was to focus on the graduate student experience at the IASL and on enhancing the Institute’s existing good relations with the IASLA. He recalled curricular changes including the arrival of Dr. Donal Hanley as the Institute’s new instructor in aircraft finance, the return of McGill law professor  Richard Janda and ICAO Legal Officer Yaw Nyampong to the teaching curriculum, the new Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law, the new McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition, Phase II of Professor Ram Jakhu’s massive signature project to create a Manual on the International Law Applicable to the Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS), and many other initiatives.  He also thanked IASLA for its work in establishing the Institute’s new permanent internship program. In closing, Professor Havel presented floral bouquets to the Institute’s Senior Administrator, Ms. Maria D’Amico, and the LL.M Class President, Ms. Victoria Frost. Professor Havel noted that he could not have negotiated his first year as Director without the phenomenal support of Ms. D’Amico’s institutional and administrative skills. The standing ovation that then greeted Ms. D’Amico indicated that the audience fully concurred.

IASL Director Professor Brian Havel and IASLA President Ms. Jimena Blumenkron.

Highlighting the evening was the keynote speech by Ms. Lauren Small, who is a proud alumna of the IASL and currently the Director of Quebec Waterways at Parks Canada. Ms. Small enrolled in the Graduate Certificate* programme in 2014, and has enjoyed an illustrious career in public service spanning over two decades.  With an impassioned account of the personal struggles she encountered in the formative years of her education, Ms. Small inspired those present by recalling how she overcame adversity and loss with strong personal convictions and an unwavering commitment to the value of public service.  Ms. Small has worked at Environment Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (now Global Affairs Canada), and the Canadian Space Agency. She played instrumental roles in the drafting of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Species at Risk Act, and the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act, and was the lead Canadian negotiator for the U.S. Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). In recognition of her commitment to cancer care and community service, she was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2002, and decorated with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Ms. Small concluded her talk with an appeal to this year’s graduating class to continue pursuing their interests and passions in the aviation and space domains. Personal conviction, she reminded the students, together with the prestige of their degree from the Institute and the support of the strong network of IASL alumni across the globe, will take them far in their lives and careers.

Ms. Lauren Small, Director of Quebec Waterways at Parks Canada and proud IASL alumna, was the keynote speaker of the evening.

Ms. Jimena Blumenkron, the President of the IASLA, briefly presented the work of the Association over the past year.  In addition to launching a donation campaign to support IASL students in attending air and space law events and conferences, Ms. Blumenkron also announced several upcoming events co-hosted by the Association, including a Business Luncheon with the International Aviation Club of Montreal that took place on 17 May with keynote speaker Mr. Bruno Pasturel, Vice President and AIRBUS Representative in Montreal.

This year’s cohort of over 35 LL.M, DCL, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Trainee, and post-doctoral students includes nationals of over 20 countries.  The geographic and gender diversity, the compact size of classes, and the direct engagement of faculty, all create a close-knit intercultural learning environment of which the IASL is extremely proud and which was at the heart of the Annual Graduation Dinner celebration.

For more pictures of the event, please visit this page.

* The Graduate Certificate attracts many seasoned working professionals who wish to enhance their credentials and add value to their professional expertise with a recognised diploma from the Faculty of Law of McGill University. As of Fall 2018, working aviation and space professionals can also opt for the extended three-year part-time LL.M. programme, which will be launched to cater to those who wishing to obtain a full Masters of Law degree.

IASL and McGill BCL/LLB Students mark their Final Class in International Trade Law 

The Law and Practice of International Trade class of 2018 and the special cake.

Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel, the Director of the IASL, celebrates with his students at the final class of his course in Law and Practice of International Trade.  A special “International Trade” cake was shared, bearing the image of a “ratchet,” which denotes the fact that under the theory of the World Trade Organization tariffs should head in only one irreversible direction – downwards.  That theory, of course, is being unsettled by current U.S. practice. The course in international trade law was made available to IASL students as a “complementary” course in addition to their regular air and space law instruction. In the fall semester Professor Havel will be teaching both of the foundational IASL aviation law courses:  Public Iinternational Air Law and Private International Air Law.

Professor Havel holding up part of the cake to mark the conclusion of the Intl Trade Law and Practice class of 2018.

In memoriam Professor Dr. Michael Milde (1931-2018)

The late Professor Michael Milde at the 65th Anniversary Gala of the Institute in 2016.

With a heavy heart, the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) announces the passing of its former Director Emeritus Professor Dr. Michael Milde.

NEW: There will be a remembrance ceremony on October 25, 2018, at noon in the Birks Chapel of McGill University.

Prior to his academic career at McGill University, Professor Milde served in various senior legal posts at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for 25 years (1966-1991), including as its Principal Legal Officer and as the Director of the ICAO Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau.  During his time at ICAO, Professor Milde oversaw the negotiation of a number of international conventions and protocols on aviation safety and security, the significance of which resonates to this day.

Having acquired a wealth of experience and expertise in the global regulation of aviation law, Professor Milde was named Director of the IASL in 1989 and held that position until 1998. His continuous efforts to enhance the academic curriculum and to support a broad platform of research culminated in the award to the Institute in 1996 of ICAO’s highest honour, the Edward Warner Award. This prestigious award was bestowed in recognition of the Institute’s “unparalleled contributions to the development of international air law” and the Institute’s “accomplishments in teaching, research and publication [….] as a center of excellence in the field.”  A few years later, in acknowledging Professor Milde’s efforts to advance the study of air and space law from both pedagogical and scholarly perspectives, the Board of Governors of McGill University conferred upon him the title and status of Director Emeritus of the Institute.

Professor Milde receiving the prestigious Edward Warner Award on behalf of the Institute of Air and Space Law from ICAO Council President Dr. Assad Kotaite in 1996
 Professor Milde was a prolific scholar who authored dozens of books and articles that  received the highest respect in the academy and beyond.  Among his most distinguished works are International Air Carrier Liability: The Montreal Convention of 1999, and International Air Law and ICAO, the third edition of which was published in 2016 (and which has just appeared in a Russian translation, a development that made him especially proud). Professor Milde served on the editorial board of various academic journals, and for over a decade (1989-2002) he was also the Editor-in-Chief of the Annals of Air and Space Law, the flagship publication of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, the IASL’s research arm.

Professor Milde was a motivating and inspiring educator, known among his students as an “insightful, vigorous, and dedicated teacher of public and private international air law.” He took particular delight in interacting with students, junior academics, and early-career professionals and was happy to provide counseling and advice for those who might be considering a future in the field he loved so passionately.  Even after his official retirement in 2006, Professor Milde continued to write regularly and to work as an independent legal consultant on the multiple issues confronting the aviation sector.  As an unflagging supporter of the Institute and its work, Professor Milde’s familiar face and warm nature continued to grace conferences and social gatherings held by the Institute in the years after his retirement.  His keynote address at the Institute’s 65th anniversary dinner in 2016 was a timely reminder of his powerful skills of oratory and storytelling.

Professor Michael Milde was 87, and will be deeply missed by his loved ones and by his colleagues and students who knew this accomplished scholar, professor, and kind human being.  He will also be much missed as an iconic figure in the global aviation law community.

In fall 2018, the IASL will host a special memorial gathering to remember Professor Milde and to celebrate his life and achievements.

We have created a special section of the website where friends, colleagues and students of Professor Milde can share their thoughts and condolences.
If you would like to post a personal message, kuan-wei.chen [at] (subject: Tribute%20to%20Professor%20Michael%20Milde) (please contact the webmaster).

If you would like to make a donation in memory of Professor Milde, please visit the dedicated page or  make sure of this form. Donations to the fund will be used to support graduate students at the Institute of Air and Space Law.

Professor Michael Milde and his wife pictured here at the 65th Anniversary Gala of the Institute in 2016. The third edition of International Air Law and ICAO was presented to the then-IASL Director Professor Ram Jakhu, who is accompanied by Mrs. Jakhu.


Erin J.C. Arsenault Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for 2018-19

As in the previous six years, the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (CRASL) of the Faculty of Law at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, intends to appoint one or two Postdoctoral Research Fellow(s) during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Postdoctoral Research Fellowship(s) will be funded by the Erin J C Arsenault Trust Fund and the appointment(s) shall be for an initial duration of one year with a possibility of renewal for a second year. The Postdoctoral Fellow(s) will work as part of a research team at the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law under the leadership and supervision of Professor Dr. Ram S. Jakhu, Project Director of McGill’s MILAMOS Project.

Principal objective of the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship program is to train the next generation of Space Law professionals interested in pursuing academic careers in Space Law. Accordingly, in addition to completing a major research project (described below), successful candidates, as members of the CRASL team, may also be required to participate in all activities of the CRASL and the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL).

The deadline for receiving applications is 15 May 2018. This full-time position will begin on 1 August 2018 and will last until 31 July 2019. For more information on the Erin J C Arsenault Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2018-2019, please see the attached document.

Beijing Institute of Technology joins the MILAMOS Project

The Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) is very proud to be joining other key stakeholders in the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS). BIT is highly prestigious academic institution in the People’s Republic of China, and its Institute of Space Law is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field within academic and government circles. BIT is also the host institution for the Space Law Center of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the official resource centre providing legal advice to the Chinese space agency. BIT will be joining Founding Institution McGill University, Partner Organisation the University of Cologne, and a host of global collaborators and stakeholders in Phase II of the three-year project to clarify rules governing the scope of military uses of outer space.

As a Partner, BIT will add great value to the MILAMOS Project by providing Chinese and non-Western perspectives on matters of global interest. The partnership with BIT will provide the Project with valuable institutional support, allow the Project to directly draw from the intellectual expertise in China, as well as provide the Project with a direct conduit to interact and engage with relevant stakeholders and government officials in China. Read more...

IASL Student presents at the ECSL Young Lawyers’ Symposium 2018

Current Erin J. C. Arsenault Fellow in Space Governance and LLM student Ms. Georgia Maria (Yolanda) Kalogirou attended the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) Practitioners’ Forum and the ECSL Young Lawyers’ Symposium 2018. The event, held this year on 23-24 March 2018, at the headquarters of the European Space Agency in Paris, France, is organised annually to provide young professionals and lawyers working in the space sector a forum to network and discuss issues of space law and policy.

Yolanda presented her research on “On-Orbit Servicing and Tacit Consent under International Law” during the Symposium. Her presentation was inspired by Dextre, the Canadian-built robotic handyman on the International Space Station, and its ability to service and refuel satellites in orbit, especially those not built to be refurbished. She examined the applicability of Article 2(7) of the United Nations Charter and Article 20 of the Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts in the context of servicing operations taking place on-orbit.

Prior to pursuing her studies at the Institute of Air and Space Law, Yolanda has worked in law offices and non-governmental organisations both in Greece and abroad, and also completed a summer internship at the Legal Department of the European Space Agency (ESA). Originally from Greece, Yolanda was part of the team that won the World Finals of the 2016 Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. Yolanda’s participation at the ECSL Symposium was facilitated by the Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Award (GREAT Award) of the McGill University , which supports graduate students to attend conferences and help with the dissemination of their research. Her participation in the conference gave her the excellent opportunity to exchange opinions with the other speakers and participants of the symposium and gain valuable feedback to fuel her passionate interest in space law.

Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition 2018: McGill Team wins Best Brief

McGill Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court team members David Fox, Victoria Frost, Valérie Bastien-Dupuis, and team coach Aram Kerkonian.
The McGill Space Law Moot team took part in the North American Regional Competition of the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition on 23-24 March 2018, capturing the award for Best Brief. The team, comprising current LLM students Ms. Victoria Frost (Finland), Ms. Valérie Bastien-Dupuis (Canada), and Mr. David Fox (USA), was coached by current DCL candidate Mr. Aram Daniel Kerkonian (Canada, LLM 2017). After months of intense preparation and trial moots, they competed in Washington, DC, with 18 student teams from all over North America.

This year’s case dealt with the legal consequences of various fictionalized and futuristic outer space activities, including intentional interference with space objects, space mining, and attempts at terraforming the natural environment of Mars. The McGill team advanced to the Quarter Finals and lost by the narrowest of margins to the team from the William & Mary College of Law. But the McGill competitors drew compensation from their great success in winning the award for Best Brief, an achievement that stands in a fine tradition for McGill teams at the Manfred Lachs. 

Congratulations to our excellent McGill team!

The McGill Manfred Lachs team posing with IASL alumni at the North American Regional Rounds, Mr. Milton “Skip” Smith, Ms. Sylvia Ospina, Dr. Andrea Harrington and Mr. Michael Dodge.



McGill Air Law “Speed Moot” Competition successfully launched in March 2018


Best Oralist Ms. Elene Tchezhia pleading at the Finals before an esteemed bench composed of IASL Director Professor Brian Havel, Professor Ram Jakhu and Professor Ludwig Weber, who also presided as President of the Court.

The inaugural McGill Intramural Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition took place at the McGill Faculty of Law on 23 March 2018. The first rendition of the McGill Air Law Speed Moot was the soft launch of a new sponsored competition that will formally begin in 2019.

Participants Mr. Eric Abrams and Andrew Rintoul receiving the Best Team Award from IASL Director Professor Havel.

The Speed Moot was conceived to provide McGill law students at the undergraduate and graduate levels with the opportunity to grapple with fascinating topics and legal issues in international aviation. Despite having only been announced two months ago, there was a tremendous show of interest in the Competition, and four teams took part in the finals on March 23. Half of the participants were pursuing BCL/LLB studies at McGill and were evidently intrigued by the “transsystemic” possibilities of a moot court competition focused on the niche field of international air law.

Ms. Elene Tchezhia receiving the Best Oralist Award and congratulatory words from IASL Director Professor Brian Havel.

The case in this year’s McGill Air Law Speed Moot concerned the topical and contentious matter of subsidies provided to airlines (The State of McGillia v. the State of Concordia: In the Matter of State Subsidies to Airlines). To maintain the highest standards of fairness and quality, impressive panels composed of faculty members, visiting scholars, seasoned law practitioners, and highly recognised experts working at the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), were involved in judging the competition.

Ms. Melina Alexandra Magazin and Mr. Kevin Hill, both 1L students at the Faculty of Law, took part in their first moot court competition and were praised for their enthusiasm and spirit.
After intense preliminary rounds, the strongest two teams went head-to-head in the Grand Final before a bench comprised of IASL Director Professor Brian F. Havel, and IASL Professors Ram Jakhu and Ludwig Weber, with Professor Weber serving as President of the Court.

The Grand Final Bench unanimously selected the highly energetic and articulate Team 1, composed of 2L students Mr. Eric Abrams and Mr. Andrew Rintoul, as team winners. In recognition of her eloquence, composure and command of the law throughout the competition, the judges awarded current LLM student Ms. Elene Tchezhia (who hails from from the Eastern European State of Georgia) the title of Best Oralist.

Also taking part were first year BCL/LLB law students Ms. Malina Alexandra Magazin and Mr. Kevin Hill. Despite not having previously studied public international law or air law, the judges were impressed by the courage, spirit, and enthusiasm displayed by these two participants.

The competition winners were announced at a gala awards ceremony held across the street from the IASL at the James Simon Museum. The participants dined with other VIPs and invited guests to the accompaniment of live jazz music in this eclectic setting – a 23-room mansion that houses the studio and artwork of celebrated Quebec portrait artist James Simon. Mr. Simon himself, with his friend Ms. Jade Pollack, acted as most genial hosts for the evening.

The McGill Air Law “Speed” Moot is unique in the world as there are very limited written submissions and teams make oral arguments only before the simulated International Court of Justice. Each team is allocated a total of 15 minutes for argument and appears in successive rounds either for the appellant or the respondent State. Assessment is based (among other criteria) on the originality and structure of the teams’ arguments and on their ability to respond effectively and flexibly to questions from the bench while maintaining the coherence of their arguments within the tight time-frame allowed. The McGill Air Law Speed Moot is not only an excellent platform for apprentice lawyers to perfect their oral advocacy and public speaking skills; it is a key initiative that will raise the awareness and interest of students at the Faculty of Law, and beyond, about the activities and the work of the Institute of Air and Space Law. In future years, the Competition is expected to attract even more participation among McGill graduate and undergraduate students as it expands with support from external benefactors. The Competition will also continue to enjoy the support and involvement of highly-qualified publicists and professionals in the field of international air law who will serve as neutral arbiters in this prestigious initiative.

Finally, special thanks from all of us at the Institute to the Co-Convenors of the 2018 Competition, IASL LLM students Swarathmika Kumar and Pier-Olivier Turcot. They did an outstanding job of recruiting participants and in ensuring that the Competition ran with total efficiency – including procuring a deeply resonant traditional hand bell that heralded the arrival of the Bench for the Grand Final.

The resounding success of the inaugural McGill Air Law Speed Court would not have been possible without the dedication and efforts of Ms. Swarathmika Kumar and Mr. Pier-Olivier Turcot.

Well done to all the participants for taking part, congratulations again to Eric and Andrew and Elene for capturing the awards at the inaugural Competition, and we look forward to the second rendition of the McGill Air Law Speed Moot Court Competition in 2019.

Participants at the Awards Ceremony and dinner after the successful McGill Air Law Moot Court Competition: (from left to right) Mr. Andrew Rintoul, Mr. Kiran Nair, Ms. Elene Tchezhia, Mr. Chih-Ting Liu and Mr. Rachid Tiroual.

More photographs are available in the designated gallery.

IASL Graduate Dr. Jiefang Huang appointed Director of ICAO Legal Bureau

We are proud to announce that former graduate of the Institute, Dr. Jiefang Huang, has been appointed as the new Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Dr. Jiefang Huang, graduate of the Institute of Air and Space Law, was appointed the Director of the ICAO Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau

Dr. Huang completed his LLM degree at the IASL in 1985, and began his career as an international civil servant at ICAO, the Montreal-based United Nations organization that regulates the safety and security of international civil aviation.  In addition to his many professional commitments, Dr. Huang is actively engaged in the activities of the Institute and its alumni association. He has taught courses at the Institute, and throughout the years has also provided thesis supervision to many of our students. In addition, Dr. Huang is a member of the Editorial Board of the Annals of Air and Space Law, and an External Member of the Board of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law.  In 2009, Dr. Huang received his doctorate in law from Leiden’s International Institute of Air and Space Law. 

As the Director of ICAO’s Legal Bureau, Dr. Huang will play an instrumental role in providing advice and assistance to the ICAO Secretary General and ICAO Member States on matters relating to international law, air law, and other key administrative and procedural matters. This well-deserved appointment is a testament to Dr. Huang’s valuable contributions and dedication to ICAO and the global aviation community.

Originally from China, Dr. Huang is one of many of our graduates who, after obtaining their degree at the IASL, go on to occupy prominent positions at the national and intergovernmental level. Current ICAO Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, is also a graduate of the Institute. In the very words of Dr. Huang, the Institute is “the jewel of the crown in this field”, and a degree from McGill is “regarded as a precious currency fluidly circulated in [the] aviation world”.

We wish Dr. Huang every success in his new role at ICAO!

New course in Aircraft Finance Law offered to IASL students

Dr. Donal Hanley together with Institute of Air and Space Law Director Professor Brian Havel. Dr. Hanley inaugurated a new course in Aircraft Finance Law at McGill.

The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law welcomed Dr. Donal P. Hanley last month to teach a new specialised course in Aircraft Finance Law. Dr. Hanley has 25 years of experience in aircraft leasing and finance law in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He is Vice President, Legal, of Aviation Capital Group (ACG), a large aircraft leasing company headquartered in Newport Beach, California, and is Managing Director of its Irish subsidiary, ACG Aircraft Leasing Ireland Limited, based in Dublin. He also serves as a director on the board of ACG’s other Irish and Swedish subsidiaries and was a founder of ACG’s joint venture in Egypt, CIAF Leasing.

Dr. Donal Hanley (white bowtie) celebrating the successful defence of his PhD in the presence of, among others, IASL Director Professor Havel (far left), thesis supervisor Professor Peter Haanappel (raised glass), the late Dr. Donald Bunker (in red), IIASL Director Professor Pablo Mendes de Leon, and Cologne Institute of Air and Space Law Director Professor Stephan Hobe.

According to Dr. Hanley, “aircraft finance is one of the most dynamic aspects of global aviation at the moment and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future. Long seen more as a part of finance law, with the majority of commercial aircraft being held pursuant to a lease or financing, aircraft financing law has now evolved into an integral part of air law. In this course, I try to focus students initially on the business concepts of aircraft finance, and then transition from there to the legal structures that implement those concepts.”

As well as holding professional qualifications in each of the jurisdictions where he has worked, and also MBA and LLM degrees, Dr. Hanley received his PhD in international aircraft finance law from Leiden University’s International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL). The IASL Director, Professor Dr. Brian F. Havel, served with the IIASL Director, Professor Dr. Pablo M. J. Mendes de Leon, on the committee that conducted Dr. Hanley’s defence of his PhD dissertation.

We are delighted that Dr. Hanley has joined our teaching faculty. For many years our lectures in aircraft finance law were taught with great enthusiasm and panache by the late Dr. Donald H. Bunker (whose obituary appears on this site), who held a DCL from the Institute and who championed aircraft finance law as a key part of our air law curriculum. We believe that Dr. Hanley, also a gifted lecturer, will be a most worthy successor to Dr. Bunker.


MILAMOS Project enters Phase II and embraces more global partners

We are pleased to announce that the project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) has matured and is entering a new phase of expansion. After over 18 months of intense drafting and four consensus-forming and government engagement workshops in various parts of the world, Phase II of the MILAMOS Project will see a streamlining of the work process, and intensified engagement with new global partners succeeding the University of Adelaide and the University of Exeter, which have recently elected to conclude their participation in the Project. These new McGill-led efforts will ensure the Project steadily progresses toward maintaining the original objectives and scope of the Project as well as its the scheduled completion date of 2019.

With support from several international partners and stakeholders, the MILAMOS Project was originally conceived and publicly inaugurated at McGill University in May 2016. The Project aims to develop a widely-accepted manual that clarifies the fundamental rules applicable to military uses of outer space by both States and non-State actors in times of peace, in periods of rising tensions, and in times of armed conflict. From the outset, the Manual was never intended to be drafted solely for the benefit of military operators “in the field”. The McGill Manual was conceived as a comprehensive expression of the lex lata (the law as it is) for use by a wide spectrum of space operators and stakeholders with an interest in the security and sustainability of space activities, rather than solely as a field manual for military operations. The value of the Manual will be its relevance and salience to States, militaries, private space actors, civil society, academics and other relevant stakeholders with an interest in the orderly conduct of space activities, and that original conception will be sustained in Phase II of the MILAMOS Project.

The Project has already gathered the support and endorsement of various stakeholders and governments around the world, and has gained widespread attention in the international media. To date, McGill University has played a leading role in garnering the necessary financial and human resources to initiate and sustain the MILAMOS Project. An International Group of Experts, comprised of individuals with recognised expertise who are representative of the international community at large, is already actively involved in the drafting of the McGill Manual, and rule-drafting workshops and State engagement events have been held in Canada, Australia, India, and the United States of America. Having provided funding of over $400,000 in the MILAMOS Project to date, McGill remains fully committed to the original vision and mission of the McGill Manual to be a neutral, inclusive, innovative, interdisciplinary, and representative clarification of the applicable law that enjoys the endorsement of States from around the world. The Government of Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), ROOM, The Space Journal, and the Erin JC Arsenault Fund at McGill University have been instrumental in providing most of the resources for the MILAMOS Project.

A truly global partnership of stakeholders and representation of perspective will be crucial to the ultimate success and acceptance of such an ambitious international endeavour. New partners, including institutions and expertise from Russia, China and other non-Western States, are actively being engaged to ensure the McGill Manual accurately captures the nuances and perspectives of different States and stakeholders, and is reflective of the wide spectrum of interests and concerns relating to the military uses of outer space. Only by embracing partners around the globe will the manual-drafting and consensus-forming process and the resultant Manual achieve the intended objective of being an accepted, authoritative and instrumental document in shaping the security and sustainability of activities in outer space.

More information on the progress and developments surrounding Phase II of the MILAMOS Project will follow shortly.

Prof. Dr. Ram S. Jakhu
MILAMOS Project Director

IASL’s New Colloquium Series in Air and Space Law

The new IASL Colloquium Series[1] in Air and Space Law has hosted four events in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Former U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, Jeffrey N. Shane with IASL Director Professor Brian Havel.
On 26 October 2017, John R. Byerly, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs at the Department of State, presented insights into the conduct of aerodiplomacy from his vantage point as the former chief of air services negotiations for the U.S. State Department.  Mr. Byerly particularly shared his experience of the lengthy process that led to the 2007 U.S./EU Air Transport Agreement which, together with its 2010 Protocol, remains the most ambitious open skies bilateral agreement ever signed.

On 9 November 2017, air transport consultant Chris Lyle, whose career at the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) encompassed several key portfolios including economic regulation, did his remarkable modified “pecha kucha”[2] slide presentation (i.e., 60 slides for about 60 seconds each) on Brexit and aviation. The UK Government, it seems, remains at war with itself about the shape and consequences of the UK’s future relationship with the European Union and air transport is caught in that vortex of indecision and uncertainty.

In the Winter Semester, on 25 January 2018, the general counsel of the Montreal- and Geneva, Switzerland-based International Air Transport Association (IATA) and former U.S. Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, Jeffrey N. Shane, enthralled students with his “insider” perspective on IATA’s litigation docket, which currently includes two amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court. He also laid out the breadth of IATA’s landscape of law-related activities and initiatives including its standard-setting machinery (the e-ticket, for example).

Participants attending the colloquia of Mr. Michael Gill, IATA’s Director for Aviation Environment and Executive Director of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG).

Most recently, on 8 February 2018, we were joined by Mr. Shane’s fellow Geneva-based colleague, Michael Gill, who is both IATA’s Director for Aviation Environment and also Executive Director of the aviation industry’s cross-sectoral coalition for environmental sustainability, the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG). Mr. Gill gave our students a “deep-dive” exposure to the emergence and planned introduction of the “Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), the multilateral aircraft emissions reduction measure that has been adopted by ICAO.

More Colloquia will follow, including speakers discussing future convergences between the governance regimes for air and space.

More pictures from the Colloquia to date can be found on the Events section of the website.


[1] Colloquium: a conversation in an academic setting in which specialists address a specific topic and answer questions relating to that topic; distinguished from a Symposium, originally a drinking party but now used to describe a more formal academic conference in which multiple scholarly papers are presented and discussed; a Seminar is also a more formal academic setting, usually involving the presentation of a single scholarly paper; in our IASL Colloquium, if the speaker is scheduled beyond 5 p.m., a glass of wine is usually served, thereby blending the Colloquium with the original idea of the Symposium


[2] “Pecha kucha” is a PowerPoint presentation methodology that limits the speaker to 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each.  See  Too inflexible (and gimmicky) for law-focused presentations, in our view. We much prefer Mr. Lyle’s approach.


In Memory of Dr. George S. Robinson

With tremendous sadness, we regret to announce that Dr. George S. Robinson passed away on 4 February 2018.

For over four decades, Dr. Robinson dedicated himself to public service, the space law profession, and education. The recipient of the first Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) degree in space law awarded by the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, Dr Robinson worked as legal counsel at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Dr. Robinson worked tirelessly to advance interest and research in international and national space law and policy, and is well-known for organising conferences on forward-looking legal and practical topics in space. As a reflection of his brilliance and foresight, and underpinned by the strong belief that biological evolution and space migration are instrumental to the survival of humankind, he conceived and initiated a unique symposium addressing legal and bio-medical aspects of a future space society.

In his long, rich and illustrious career, Dr. Robinson also served as an international relations specialist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where he was Desk Officer for developing collaborative research and educational programmes with Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, and Pakistan. Upon leaving the Smithsonian Institution in 1995, Dr. Robinson established (with his sons and daughter-in-law) the firm of Robinson & Associates Law Offices, P.C. (now Robinson and Robinson, LLC), a domestic and international law practice specialising in the laws of corporations, intellectual property and space commerce. Despite his professional commitments, Dr. Robinson served on the board of directors of various science research facilities, foundations, and hospitals, and dedicated himself to educating and inspiring future generations. Throughout the years, Dr. Robinson taught and lectured in law and business at numerous universities in the United States and elsewhere. He authored over 100 articles and books on a broad range of subjects, including public and private international law relating to space activities, space commerce, and aviation law; science/technology law, maritime law and policies relating to oceanography and limnology; the law relating to conservation of land, critical habitats, and animal and plant species; terrestrial and oceanographic environmental law, and business law. Dr. Robinson was a prolific contributor to the IASL’s flagship journal, Annals of Air and Space Law, producing many insightful and enriching articles that outline philosophical ideas and visions of the space governance system that are well beyond our time.

Even after leaving the IASL, Dr. Robinson was a proud alum and remained a great friend and supporter of its mission and work. He found great pleasure in interacting with students at the Institute, often going to great lengths to assist emerging scholars and professionals with their research and connecting their with opportunities in the aviation and space law fields. In recognition of Dr. Robinson's unique contributions to the study of space law, the Institute established the George S. and Ann K. Robinson Prize for Excellence in Space Law to support innovative and original contributions to space jurisprudence. Dr. Robinson was one of an elite group of space lawyers who was far ahead of his peers in imagining and envisioning life and human evolution in the 21st Century and beyond.

George Robinson was a mentor and friend to all of us at the IASL. The international space law community has lost an extraordinary and visionary scholar. We extend our most sincere condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

Professor Brian Havel
Director, Institute of Air and Space Law


The McGill Faculty of Law magazie, Focus, carried an interview with the late Dr. Robinson, who offered some anecdotes about his life at McGill and what inspired him to pursue studies in air and space law.

In memory of Dr. Robinson and his tremendous contributions to education and the study of space law, you can support the George S. and Ann K. Robinson Prize for Excellence in Space Law using the attached donation form.

Remembering Donald H. Bunker

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear colleague Professor Dr. Donald Harry Bunker, on January 25, at the age of 77 in his home, following a brief illness. As Adjunct Professor, Dr. Bunker was always happy to return to Montreal every year and teach Aviation Finance at the Institute, where he declared he had "so many livelong friends (...) which [brought] [him] back all the time". He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

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