Below are the events and news from 2021
- IASL European Alumnae and Alumni Association holds virtual meeting
- Institute Director Professor Brian Havel makes public address at European Alumni and Alumnae Meeting
- Satcon-2 Policy Working Group Report now available online [.pdf]
- Acting Director Ram Jakhu promoted to Full Professor
- Ad Hoc Remote Sensing Space Systems Advisory Committee documents now available
- IASL Graduate Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar elected as ICAO Secretary General
- IASL Graduate Ermanno Napolitano appointed Harvard Fellow
- IASL participates in the Working Group preparing for Satcon-2
- Sarin & Co. – McGill University Announce the Second Essay Contest on Aircraft Finance and Leasing
- Overwhelming support for the McGill SpaceLawPedia Project
- IASL completes the largest sponsorship in Space Law Research and Education
The European Alumnae and Alumni Association of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law held its first ever virtual meeting on 25 November 2021. Over 40 former IASL graduates from all over the world attended the meeting, which was initiated and coordinated by IASL alumni Adrian Cioranu (2003), Julien Subilia (2007) and Laurent Chassot (2008). Though held on-line, this was the first “in-person” event of the Association since 2014.Kicking off the online meeting was a surprise recorded video address by Institute Director Professor Brian Havel. In his first public appearance since the start of his medical leave in June 2020, Professor Havel appeared extremely well, and assured everyone he has been on a positive trajectory of recovery over the past 18 months. Professor Havel took the opportunity to convey his sincere congratulations to Professor Ram Jakhu on his recent appointment as Full Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, and expressed his sincere gratitude to Professor Jakhu and Senior Administrative Coordinator Maria D’Amico for ensuring the Institute continues to preserve and excel in its pedagogical and research activities through an exceptionally challenging period brought on by the
Headlining the European Association meeting was the keynote speaker, Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar (IASL class of 1998), who recently began his tenure as the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Generously taking an hour out of his busy schedule, the ICAO Secretary General spoke about the tremendous challenges that the aviation sector is currently facing, which has not been made easier in light of the pandemic. At the recent High Level Conference on COVID, States came together to hold important discussions on facilitation, the recovery of international air connectivity, as well as how to ensure that air travel during and after the pandemic remains available and accessible for all. Finding common ground and achieving common standards to facilitate international travel to ensure a “swift, inclusive and prudent global recovery” remains a pressing goal for ICAO. Throughout the response to and recovery from pandemic, maintaining aviation safety, security, efficiency, and sustainability remains core objectives of the Organization, the ICAO Secretary General also underlined.
Recalling that former IASL Director Michael Milde, who had also been Director of the ICAO Legal Bureau, had been a vocal advocate of modernising the Chicago Convention, Mr. Salazar expressed that key to his agenda as ICAO Secretary General is accelerating institutional reform to ensure the Organization is “fit for purpose”. Instilling good governance and ethics, as well as embracing the digital transformation of work processes, are all vital to reinventing the world’s intergovernmental body responsible for the maintenance of aviation safety, security and sustainability globally. In order to better serve its mandate, ICAO must be capable of meeting the evolving needs and expectations of its Member States, and concerted efforts must be made to ensure that there is more multistakeholder engagement. This is all the more relevant, as the Secretary General underlined, in the face of increasing cybersecurity threats, managing the increased use of unmanned aircraft systems, and the common recognition of the importance to enhance the rules-based order multilateral mechanism for aviation governance.After his keynote address, Mr. Salazar also took the opportunity to field several questions from attendees of the meeting. Questions ranged from how to enhance engagement with young professionals to how to the possibility of being engaged in ongoing conversations about the regulation of space transportation. The implementation of CORISIA and strengthening partnerships with regional offices were also issues of interest for the audience. Expressing his optimism for the rapid recovery of the global, the Secretary General said he looks forward to working with government officials, industry sector experts, and academics, many of whom can be found in the extensive IASL alumni network, to enhance ICAO as the most effective platform for global standardisation and cooperation in civil aviation matters.
Acting IASL Director Professor Ram Jakhu followed with a “State of the IASL Address”, in which he updated the meeting attendees on recent activities and developments at the Institute of Air and Space Law, and the research arm of the Institute, the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law. 2021 marks the bicentennial of the alma mater McGill University, which is situated on the traditional land of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nation that has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples. It is such privilege that for over seven decades, the Institute continues to be a place for the meeting of cultures and exchange of knowledge and ideas which has invariably enriched the personal and professional lives of so many across the globe.
Despite being one of the darkest periods in the history of aviation, Professor Jakhu noted that COVID-19 was a reminder of the importance of the IASL’s mandate. To tackle the unprecedented legal issues experienced by the aerospace industry during the pandemic, the need for well-trained experts and research in air and space law is now greater than ever. Though many in-person events had to be cancelled or postponed, the Institute’s top priority before, during, and no doubt after the pandemic, is to ensure our graduates are able to receive the best quality education, and grow and mature personally and professionally during their time at McGill.
During the pandemic, the Institute launched a series of IASL webinars on new and emerging issues in the aviation and space industry. In addition to a space law webinar series organised with the Netherlands-based International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety, IAASS, in September we also began a webinar series under the rubric of “Law in a Rapidly Evolving Aviation Industry”.
Thanks to the continuing and tireless efforts of our valuable graduates, the Institute has benefited from many extracurricular educational initiatives that have been put into place. Before the pandemic, the Institute entered into agreements with, among others, Air Canada, and the Montreal-based International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations (IFALPA) to provide internship opportunities for current IASL students. Professor Jakhu took the occasion to request alumni and alumnae to reach out to discuss ways on how broaden opportunities to invest in and cultivate future leaders in aviation and space law.
On the research front, the Acting Director updated the attendees on progress in the long-awaited McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space, which is expected to be published in the first quarter of 2022. Preparations are also underway to curate the world’s first dedicated Encyclopedia on International Space Law, which promises to be the impartial and accessible go-to resource for those practising, conducting research on or teaching international space law. Furthermore, Professor Jakhu unveiled the plan to inaugurate a dedicated French-language section in the Annals of Air and Space Law. With the assistance of IASL alumnae Ms. Axelle Cartier (IASL class of 1996) and Ms. Isabelle Lelieur (IASL class of 2000), concerted efforts will be made to attract and disseminate more French-language scholarship to ensure that the Annals remains the foremost bilingual journal in air and space law.
Underlining the importance of connecting with other professionals and institutions in the fields of air law and space law, Professor Jakhu noted he recently had the great pleasure of meeting with Professor Steven Truxall, the new Director of the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden. The two directors discussed how to usher in a new chapter in relations between the two institutes in order to advance mutual research interests and increase collaboration and exchanges. In terms of collaboration, Professor Jakhu expressed his great appreciation to Professor Stephan Hobe (IASL class of 1985), who heads the Cologne Institute of Air and Space Law, and Professor Setsuko Aoki (class of 1986), who is a world-renowned expert in space law at Keio University in Japan.
Professor Jakhu also remarked on the tremendous value of the IASL’s regional alumni and alumnae associations, such as the European Association, in reaffirming lifelong friendships, and building connections that continue to enrich the personal and professional lives of graduates all over the world. It is due to tireless efforts of dedicated graduates who feel such a strong sense of pride with the IASL that the Association has been able to organise networking and social events in so many great European cities over the years. He took occasion to acknowledge the contributions of Niki Ehlers, who for many years has dedicated himself to the Association. Commending the initiative taken by the organisers of virtual meeting, Professor Jakhu ended by encouraging efforts by devoted graduates who are eager to organise more activities to further strengthen the IASL network in Europe.
Amid personal greetings and an overall jovial atmosphere, attendees were visibly pleased to see one another after such a prolonged period of social distancing and isolation. In several rounds of roundtable discussions, many took the opportunity to update one another on their personal and professional lives. It was commonly agreed that even after the pandemic, there is a need to annually hold a virtual meeting of the Association in order to connect with lifelong friends and new graduates, both near and far, who may not be able to attend the in-person activities that are scheduled every year. As the last meeting of the European Association was held in 2014, members agreed that efforts must be made to convene an annual meeting as soon as possible. It is through such events that the Association can reconnect, and, most importantly, be introduced to new graduates of the Institute who may be in need of professional guidance and mentorship.
Institute Director Professor Brian Havel makes public address at European Alumni and Alumnae Meeting
25 November 2021
In a recorded video address to the European Alumnae and Alumni Association of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, Institute Director Professor Brian Havel made his first public appearance since the start of his extended medical leave in June 2020.
Appearing in good spirits and good health, Professor Havel thanked everyone for their personal well-wishes, and assured everyone that he has been on a positive trajectory of recovery over the past 18 months. He also took the opportunity to convey his sincere congratulations to Professor Ram Jakhu on his recent appointment as Full Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law of McGill University. As the Dean of Law Robert Leckey stated, Professor Jakhu is a “A deeply appreciated scholar, collaborator, supervisor, and administrator [who] has helped centrally in McGill’s maintaining its place as the world’s leading centre for air and space law”. With the elevation of Professor Jakhu, McGill is unique in the world as the only institution to host full professorships in both the disciplines of air law and space law.
In addition to expressing his deep gratitude to Professor Jakhu for graciously assuming the role of Acting Director during his illness, Professor Havel also thanked Senior Administrator Maria D’Amico, whose “warmth and ready smile make the Institute feel like a true academic home for [colleagues], and for so many of you around the world”.
Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, Professor Havel reminded everyone that the Institute continues to preserve and excel in our pedagogical and research activities. Wishing to be a part of the world’s foremost institute for the study of air and space law, high quality students from all over the world continue join the Institute. This year, on top of 12 returning LLM students and DCL candidates, the Institute welcomes 18 new students from Austria, Canada, Hong Kong, France, India, Romania, South Korea, the United States and Ukraine.
In anticipation of Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Institute founding, Professor Havel underlined special celebrations that will take place in the coming year. Inviting everyone to join in celebrating “seventy years of singular academic distinction”, he expressed hope that long-anticipated in person events can be convened soon.
Over the past seven decades, the Institute has grown and matured much due to the grand visions, dedication to timeless and cutting-edge scholarship, and public service of its founders and successive Institute directors. Adding to the Institute prestige and renown is the “solid support and unfailing dedication” of over 1,000 alumni, which forms the backbone of what Professor Havel termed the “institutional consilience” of the Institute.
Institutional constitutional is a commonly agreed approach to addressing the challenges of, and opportunities for, expansion of governance of the aviation and space sectors. The notion of consilience is also embodied in the accomplishments and professionalism of graduates such as Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar, who begins his tenure as the Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) precisely as the Institute begins its eighth decade as “the premiere global setting for air and space law studies”.
“Thank you for making the IASL the unique place that it is,” Professor Havel said to attendees of the IASL European Alumni and Alumnae Association meeting. “[And] for making us proud of your professional accomplishments in over a hundred countries, and throughout Europe”. Urging everyone to remain in touch with the “Mothership” Institute in Montreal, Professor Havel said he looks forward to meeting everyone in person in the very near future.
Professor Havel expressed his hope to return to his role as Director in early January 2022, and wished everyone every bit of success in the new year.
Professor Jakhu has dedicated his life to space law education and research, and is today recognised globally among the most prominent and most prolific scholars and experts in the discipline. After completing both his LLM and Doctor of Civil Law (Dean’s Honour List) at the Institute, Professor Jakhu began his academic career at the Faculty of Law of McGill University as a Sessional Lecturer. For several years in the 1990s, Professor Jakhu was Professor and Director of the Master of Space Studies program at the International Space University (ISU). In 1998, he returned to McGill to serve as the Director of the Centre for the Study of Regulated Industries, and was later appointed Associate Professor. He is currently the Acting Director of the Institute.
“Ram is one of the most accomplished, energetic, prolific and hardest working of our colleagues,” Director Emeritus Professor Paul S. Dempsey said. “It was a pleasure to work with him for the decade and a half I was at McGill”.
In addition to being a motivating and inspiring educator, Professor Jakhu enjoys various professional recognitions and appointments that decorate his distinguished career and public service. He was a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration Advisory Group of Legal Experts on Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Outer Space, as well as the Chair of the United Nations (UN) Working Group that updated, expanded, and finalised the curriculum for a space law course to be taught at the UN Regional Centres for Space Science and Technology Education.
Professor Jakhu has also served as Chairman of the Legal and Regulatory Committee of the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), and was a member of the Global Agenda Council on Space of the World Economic Forum for six years. In recognition for his decades-long service to the community, Professor Jakhu received the Leonardo da Vinci Life-long Achievements Award from the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) and the Distinguished Service Award from the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) for his significant contributions to space law.
In addition to his various teaching commitments, over the past few years, Professor Jakhu has dedicated his efforts to the Study on Global Space Governance, and the project in drafting of the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS). More recently, he has been awarded a grant by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to curate the McGill Encyclopedia on International Space Law, which promises to be the definitive peer-reviewed reference material for anyone practising, conducting research on or teaching international space law.
Under his stewardship, students and the Institute benefitted greatly from the largest sponsorship ever to support research and education in space law generously funded the Arsenault Space Law Project. With his enduring patience and faith in people, nothing brings him more joy than to see and assist students flourish. For over 15 years, every year Professor Jakhu supervises a fairly large number of graduate and postgraduate students and post-doctoral research fellows, committing much of his time to providing budding scholars and professionals with stimulating ideas and worldly life lessons during their time at McGill.
“I am delighted to see this recognition of our colleague’s extensive contributions in international space law and the law of telecommunications,” said Dean Robert Leckey. “A deeply appreciated scholar, collaborator, supervisor, and administrator, Professor Jakhu has helped centrally in McGill’s maintaining its place as the world’s leading centre for air and space law.”
Congratulations on this tremendous achievement and recognition, Professor Jakhu. You truly are a valued gem and guru in our midst.
25 September 2021
We are extremely proud that current DCL student and IASL alumn Ermanno Napolitano was appointed as a Harvard University Solar Geoengineering Research Program (SGRP) Fellow.
In addition to being the recipient of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Ermanno Napolitano has been awarded a prestigious Harvard SGRP Fellowship to explore the legal principles that should govern geoengineering research and its potential deployment under the supervision of Dr Lucas Stanczyk, a McGill Law BCL-JD graduate, who leads the project “The Ethical and Political Dimensions of Solar Geoengineering”.
At Harvard, Ermanno is benefitting from the university’s conveying power to bring together leading experts in the field to further explore the technology and its governance. Ermanno’s thesis deepens the legal understanding of geoengineering, intended as the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the earth’s atmosphere to reduce global warming. Some geoengineering techniques could, in principle, quickly produce temperature reductions that could last for years, and some are relatively inexpensive and within the reach of any State or large corporation. However, geoengineering deployment may cause undesired effects that, although envisaged as less dangerous than global warming, could bring serious consequences. A recent return to nationalist currents makes plausible the hypothesis that geoengineering may arise under a unilateral state of exception to international law, however misguided and imprudent. His thesis explores the legal principles that should govern geoengineering research and its potential deployment, and how the possibility of legitimizing such a deployment could be produced within a sound legal framework and without giving way to unilateral actions.
Ermanno completed his LLM under the supervision of Acting Institute Director Professor Ram Jakhu.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, which will significantly contribute to my research.” Ermanno said.
22 July 2021
From May to mid-July 2021, Acting Director of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law Prof. Ram Jakhu and LL.M. candidate Mr. Nishith Mishra took part as invited experts in a series of Satellite Constellations 2 (Satcon-2) meetings. Organised by the United States National Science Foundation’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NSF NOIRLab) in collaboration with the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Satcon-2 is currently addressing the impact of ‘light pollution’ on astronomical societies and observatories around the world due to the presence of an increasing number of commercial mega satellite constellations in low Earth orbits. Satcon-1, held in June 2020, was the prior event organised to assess the impact of satellite constellations on astronomy and consider possible mitigation solutions.
The Satcon-2 Workshop provided a unique platform and opportunity for academia, civil society institutions, government and industry to meet and discuss the potential impact of the launch of tens of thousands of satellites in low Earth orbits on the human environment on Earth as well as the outer space environment.
Issues related to the magnitude of reflectivity, placement of constellations at orbits lower than 500-600 km, and other technical recommendations which had emanated out of Satcon-1 Workshop were now placed for further policy and legal consideration. Satcon-2 also saw a direct dialogue with the satellite industry participants as well as concerned legislators and policy-makers in the United States (US).
Primarily engaged with the Working Group on Policy and showcasing McGill University’s expertise in the domain of space law and policy, Professor Jakhu and Mr. Mishra continue to work closely with sub-working groups comprising of the industry section, the US national policy section, and the international policy section. Constituent members include representatives of the American Astronomical Society and astronomical observatories in the US and Europe, and experts from academic and research institutions (including the Outer Space Institute of the University of British Columbia, the Center for Air and Space Law – University of Mississippi School of Law, etc.), and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Also taking part are space law and policy advocates in the United States, representatives from SpaceX, OneWeb, Amazon Kuiper and other industry stakeholders. There was also participation of representatives of the US government agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, retired NASA officials and interests groups advocating for sustainable development in space. From Canada, in addition to the two universities mentioned above, Global Affairs Canada has been actively involved with proceedings as well.
The primary focus of Satcon-2 was to engage with the industry to come up with voluntary guidelines/participation from industry for mitigation of impacts. Another important aspect of consideration was to indulge, debate and discuss domestic laws and policies of the United States, and employ a whole-of-government approach to address ways in which mitigation impacts and guidelines could be best incorporated in national policy. Yet another focus has been to engage, address and incorporate international law provisions, including provisions of international space laws and international environment laws, planetary protection and defense strategies, to ascertain how best the United States could be persuaded to address pressing concerns and matters in the immediate short term.
A White Paper produced in collaboration with all the Satcon-2 Organizing Committee and the Working Group Members is due in September 2021. With a view to developing and proposing guidelines and policies to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the United Nations-sponsored, IAU-initiated Dark & Quiet and Skies Workshop will follow Satcon-2.
Please find more details at: https://noirlab.edu/satcon2/
Update 29 October 2021
It is our pleasure to announce that the Institute of Air and Space Law has concluded our collaboration with Satcon2 Workshop, and the report of the Policy Working Group can be viewed accessed online (here is the Executive Summary of the report). Our Institute continues to work with esteemed colleagues and members of the space law and policy community in the UN sponsored Dark and Quiet Skies II Workshop, and its report is due shortly.
Sarin & Co and McGill's Insitute of Air and Space Law announce 2nd edition of the student essay contest on aircraft finance and leasing
1 May 2021
CHANDIGARH & MONTREAL, 1 May 2021
Sarin & Co., a leading Indian law firm with a strong speciality in the field of Aircraft Finance & Leasing Law established in Chandigarh, India in 1932, and McGill University’s Institute of Air & Space Law, based in Montreal, Canada, are proud to announce the second edition of the Sarin - McGill Annual Student Essay Contest on Aircraft Finance & Leasing 2021.
Sarin & Co., has established this Essay Contest with the main objective of promoting the subject of Aircraft Finance & Leasing Law and encouraging student authors to think creatively and beyond the established rules and principles of law, thereby adding a future-leaning dimension and innovative approach to this ever-evolving field of law.
McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law (“IASL”) is the world’s premier academic setting for teaching and research in the dual disciplines of international air law and space law. The Institute is now on course to consolidate and enhance its record of achievement as it celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, the same year that McGill University itself will turn 200.
The winner of the Contest will be flown to Montreal, Canada by Sarin & Co. for a visit to the home of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (“ICAO”) and McGill University. Should a student of McGill University win the contest, the Firm shall fly the winner to Chandigarh, India to visit the UNESCO Heritage marvels of India’s first planned city. The winning entry will be published in the Annals of Air and Space Law, the IASL’s flagship academic publication.
Speaking on this momentous occasion, Nitin Sarin, Managing Partner, Advocate, LL.M. in Air and Space Law & Solicitor (England & Wales) of Sarin & Co., said “We, as part of our social legal responsibility are delighted and overjoyed to continue our partnership with McGill University’s Institute of Air & Space Law. In its second edition, the Essay Contest continues to promote the field of Aircraft Finance & Leasing Law among law students across the globe”.
Professor Dr. Ram S. Jakhu, Acting Director of the McGill Institute of Air & Space Law, welcomed the continuation of the Contest as a recognition of the IASL’s longstanding academic strength in aviation finance law and also as a testament to the Sarin & Co. law firm’s professional commitment to the education and training of law students. “We are delighted to continue and to deepen our partnership with Sarin & Co. in this contest, which is now firmly established to encourage future talent in this ever-increasingly important area of air law,” Professor Dr. Jakhu stated.
26 February 2021
We are extremely proud to announce that McGill Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) graduate Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar has just been appointed as the next Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Montreal-based United Nations specialised agency responsible for aviation safety and security. His appointment came after a competitive campaign against other high-profile candidates and two intense rounds of voting, and his three-year renewable term will begin on 1 August 2021.
“I feel quite emotional as we celebrate Mr. Salazar’s election as Secretary General on the very cusp of the IASL‘s 70th anniversary year”, Director of the Institute, Professor Brian F. Havel said. “His appointment is so richly deserved and brings honour to Colombia, to Latin America, and to all of us who are fortunate to have had professional contact with him over the years”.
Mr. Salazar joined the IASL’s LLM in Air and Space Law in 1998. Indeed, due to his sociable nature and abilities as an effective communicator and leader, his classmates elected him to serve as the class president. Following his graduation, he remained an active alumnus and ardent supporter of the Institute, and went on to establish the Latin American chapter of the IASL Alumni Association. Throughout the years, he has organised and helped coordinate a number of IASL conferences and alumni events in Bogota, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.
Mr Salazar’s long and extensive career in international civil aviation spans over 26 years, during which he fulfilled various senior roles in multilateral transport negotiations, aviation management, and air transport policy, in Latin America and the Middle East. A regular attendee and speaker at the annual McGill Aviation Liability, Insurance and Finance Conferences, Mr. Salazar has worked tirelessly to promote the development of air law not only in his home country, Colombia, but also in Latin America as a whole through the Latin American Civil Aviation Commission (LACAC), where he served as President. Currently the Director General of the Colombia Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Salazar previously served as a Senior Advisor to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Civil Aviation Authority. In addition to his impressive professional portfolio with extensive experience working with civil aviation authorities around the world, Mr. Salazar also maintains close ties with academia. He has guest-lectured on air and space law and air carrier liability at the IASL and in Colombia.
Mr. Salazar’s appointment to the role of the ICAO Secretary General is a testament to the value of the world-class education from McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law. In 1996, ICAO bestowed the Edward Warner Award on the Institute in recognition of its “unparalleled contributions to the development of international air law and to the examination of contemporary aviation issues.” Since ICAO's inception, the organisation has benefitted from dozens of IASL graduates filling many senior positions in the Secretariat, on the Council and in national delegations. However, Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar is the first IASL graduate to become Secretary General.
With the appointment of Mr. Salazar, it is hoped that the special ties between the Institute and the world’s foremost international aviation organisation will continue to be strong as the Institute celebrates its 70th anniversary later this year.
We wish our friend and alumnus Juan Carlos Salazar every success as he undertakes his global leadership mandate at this pivotal moment for international aviation.
Since the public announcement of the McGill Encyclopedia of International Space Law (at SpaceLawPedia.com) at the end of August, we are pleased to have made great progress in laying the foundations of the project. Over the past two months, 28 renowned members of the international space law community, hailing from 18 different countries, have accepted to play an active role in the strategic direction, creation and curation of the McGill Encyclopedia. With their combined expertise, and the carefully selected and peer-reviewed contributions from practitioners, established and emerging scholars in the world, the McGill Encyclopedia at SpaceLawPedia.com promises to be a valuable resource and reference material for international space law.
“McGill is well placed both with technical and academic resources […] to undertake and accomplish such a project”, said former Judge Abdul Koroma of the International Court of Justice. Upon accepting to join as a member of the Advisory Board, Judge Koroma fondly recalled pleasant memories of discussing the issues to be covered in the Encyclopedia with Professor Jakhu throughout the years. The idea of an encyclopedia being a comprehensive reference compendium on specialised topics of international space law is by no means novel, yet unique. With the endorsement of the Faculty of Law at McGill University and under the guidance of the Acting Director of the Institute Professor Ram Jakhu, this multi-year undertaking is the first to put idea to reality.
Recognising the problem with the spread of biased and unscrutinised literature on international space law, the McGill Encyclopedia aims to produce the go-to source for credible and rigorously peer-reviewed scholarship on international space law. The need for objective scholarship has been heightened with increasingly sensationalist and misleading discussions about international space law, an issue that is particularly prevalent with the ease of publishing on the Internet.
The rhetoric surrounding the inevitability of war in outer space, or the various commercial or strategic reasons put forward to justify unilateral attempts to exploit and claim ownership over space natural resources, denial of the application of international law on the Moon and other celestial bodies, or the unchecked increase in the creation of space debris, are endemic. Such voices are often broadcast without regard to the fundamentals of international space law, which is the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and for the benefit of all humankind. At a time where there are renewed and varied interests at play in the global commons of outer space, it is imperative that all space stakeholders have a clear understanding of legal concepts and principles unique to peaceful and sustainable governance of this fragile domain. This vision is shared by the members of the Advisory Board and Editorial Board of the McGill Encyclopedia, who in the coming period will begin the process of inviting select contributors to draft entries on core subject matters of international space law.
“The Encyclopedia will serve a very useful purpose now and in the future”, said Judge Koroma. Indeed, the active involvement and endorsement of a former judge of the International Court of Justice, dozens of recognised academics, and industry professionals underline the recognition for such a valuable and publicly available resource on international space law. In addition, the McGill Encyclopedia Project at SpaceLawPedia.com will provide students and emerging scholars great opportunities to collaborate with renowned scholars and engage with cutting-edge scholarship in ways that will enhance the skills of future talent.
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After a period of twelve years, and several impressive milestones and achievements, the Institute of Air and Space Law is proud to announce the successful completion of the largest sponsorship ever to support an educational institution for research and education in space law.
The Arsenault Space Law Project was launched in 2008 with the generous sponsorship of the Colorado-based Erin J.C. Arsenault Trust Fund. Under the banner of “Space Security through the Rule of Law and Sustainable Space Development”, the sponsorship was secured with the objective of enhancing capacity-building in space law, as well as generating and disseminating knowledge related to space law and governance. The multi-million dollar sponsorship has for over a decade been carefully managed and used to support the education of students and rising scholars, along with the enhancement of space law knowledge and research, outreach and public policy dialogue at McGill University.With the generous financial support, the IASL has educated and provided opportunities for a great number of students and emerging scholars from all corners of the world. In total, 32 Arsenault Fellows (21 LLM and 11 DCL students) and 11 Arsenault Post-Doctoral Fellows from 20 countries have been able to study and carry out research in space law. “Behind these facts and figures, there are incredibly interesting stories of many graduate students and research fellows, who were enabled to pursue their passion for studying and researching in space law” said Professor Ram Jakhu, the Project Director of the Arsenault Space Law Project.
The Arsenault Space Law Project, during the period of 12 years, further enhanced the IASL as the world’s uncontested centre of excellence in space law education and research. Thus, the IASL attracted additional 21 graduate students to study space law and 6 visiting scholars to conduct their advanced research in space law-related subjects without any financial support of the Project. During this period, the IASL produced an unprecedented number (more than 60) of space law specialists from various countries across the globe ,and thus sowed many seeds of interest in space law and cultivated much remarkable talent that will continue to influence developments in space law in the future.
Not only did the Arsenault Fund produce space law specialists from across the globe, it also helped build institutional partnerships and academic collaboration to foster the development of broader perspectives on space security and governance. Between 2008 and 2020, over 60 conferences, workshops and academic meetings have been organise, including the seminal Manfred Lachs Conferences on Space Law, and between 2008 and 2019, the annual Space Security Workshop of the Space Security Index. Further, the Arsenault Space Law Project provided much of the funding to initiate the ground-breaking 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), both of which have attracted international renown and been presented at the United Nations. Recently, the Arsenault Fund provided the seed money to begin preparations to curate the McGill Encyclopedia of International Space Law, the first online compendium on specialised topics of space law in the world.The generous financial backing and support of the Arsenault Fund propelled the research and educational program of the Institute and its affiliated Centre for Research in Air and Space Law into a world-renowned centre of excellence and depository of space law scholarship. Over the years, the Fund has supported the publication of 16 books, monographs and major studies, as well as enabled IASL faculty members, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students to publish and/or present over 250 papers on topics related to space law and governance.
The commitment of the largest ever sponsorship to an educational institution in the world to study and further research and knowledge in space law and governance could not happen without the stewardship, foresight and vision of Ms. Cynda Collins Arsenault, the Trustee of the Erin J.C. Arsenault Trust Fund. Earlier this year, Ms. Collins Arsenault personally expressed her appreciation to Prof. Jakhu for the successful completion of the Arsenault Space Law Project, and noted it has “been wonderful watching the progress of the fellowship recipients”. Successive deans of the Faculty of Law of McGill University, notably Dean Nicolas Kasirer, Dean Daniel Jutras, Dean Robert Leckey, have also played an instrumental role in ensuring that such precious funding is committed to attracting the best talents to study space law at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law.“It has been a rare privilege and honour for me to be entrusted with the intellectual direction and multifaceted management of […] perhaps the largest financial sponsorship for space law education in the world” Professor Jakhu said. “It has undoubtedly been a once in a lifetime opportunity and a challenge, which I undertook and performed with full sincerity and dedication”.
The Erin J.C. Arsenault Trust Fund has been a source of long-term financial stability necessary to sustain and nurture growing interest and the dissemination of knowledge in space law and space governance at the Institute and at McGill University. With the creation of so many publications, and cultivation of so many promising professionals and budding academics, it is hoped that space security, sustainability and the rule of law will continue to underpin developments in the shared global commons of outer space for decades to come.
The Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University continues to be the world’s leading educational institution for study of, and advance research in, space law.
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We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous people whose footsteps have marked this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.