The valuable contributions of space activities and applications to humanity’s development and welfare are countless, cross-sectoral, and well-recognised. With the proliferation and diversification of space activities and actors, now, more than ever, there is a need for a comprehensive and accurate understanding of international space law.
International space law forms the core of the global space governance framework that shape, govern, and regulate space-related activities and developments in the domain of outer space. This specialised body of international space law, which itself is embedded in public international law, requires a clear understanding and application of concepts and principles, such as international liability and State responsibility in the context of the exploration and use of outer space. Further, in order to fully grasp the application of the principles and rules of the law governing space activities and the realm of outer space, there is a need to possess a solid and accurate understanding of the sources and formation of public international law.
However, as a result of the rapid development of and interest in space activities, a wide array of scholarship and literature, often produced without rigorous peer-review, is rapidly surfacing on various subject-matters pertaining to international space law. Unfortunately, given the information boom and ease of publication, particularly through the medium of the Internet, much scholarship and literature is biased, misleading or simply wrong on the law. Due to the explosion of writings that lack neutrality, objectivity or credible intellectual basis, and are devoid of basic understanding of the principles of public international law and relevant technical and scientific know-how inherent to space activities, it has become quite difficult for policy-makers, academics, researchers and students in the space law community to find what the law is in a way that is accurately and objectively stated and clarified.
The Institute of Air and Space Law of McGill University has a long history of taking leadership in advancing cutting-edge research projects of practical relevance. One such international project, the internationally recognised McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS Project) is soon coming to a very successful end. Based on experiences and key findings from MILAMOS Project, particularly noting the spread of publications on space law issues by authors from a limited number of States, without appropriate qualifications in and knowledge of international space law, public international law and even basics of law, the need to curate an online resource in an encyclopedic format became apparent.
Launched in November 2020, the McGill Encyclopedia of International Space Law aims to fulfill the need for an objectively curated online resource on key subject-matters of international space law. With the input of a team of global practitioners and academics in the field of international space law and general international law, the Encyclopedia will be the definitive source of peer-reviewed reference material for anyone practising, conducting research on or teaching international space law.
The McGill Encyclopedia of International Space Law in brief:
- The go-to resource for the accurate and objective restatement on subject-matters in the unique field of international space law
- Peer-reviewed and substantiated online resource in a user-friendly encyclopedic format
- Contributions from renowned practitioners and academics worldwide specialised in international space law and public international law
- Partial open-access to a reliable reference material for a wide and global audience of policy-makers, government officials, industry professionals, researchers and academics practising, conducting research on or teaching international space law
The McGill Encyclopedia of International Space Law will be formally launched in early 2021 on a separate user-friendly website: www.spacelawpedia.com
For more information and updates, please spacelawpedia [at] mcgill.ca (subject: McGill%20Encyclopedia%20of%20International%20Space%20Law) (contact us.)