The proposed Manual will fill the legal lacunae with respects to issues that for decades have been the source of debate and disagreement among policy makers, legal practitioners, military strategists, and other academics and experts in the field.

By assembling teams of experts specialised in international space law and public international law, the MILAMOS Project will identify and distil the lex lata with respect to the means and extent to which States can legitimately use outer space for military activities, including the conduct of hostile actions in situations posing threats to the peace, short of armed conflict. 

Specialised groups will meet and identify rules applicable to specific circumstances in the space domain. Individual experts will be tasked with drafting and discussing rules at meetings of the experts held at regular intervals. Discussions on the origins, scope and possible sources of disagreement of each rule will be detailed in the associated commentary to be included in the Manual alongside each rule.

To facilitate the transparency and openness of the MILAMOS Process, some of the rules that are under consideration in each stage are listed below.

  • Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space
  • Applicability of International Law
  • Harmful Interference
  • Responsibility for National Space Activities
  • Peaceful Purposes
  • Use of Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • Non-Appropriation
  • National Registration of Space Ojbects
  • Launching States
  • Applicability of Space Treaties during Armed Conflict
  • International Liability
  • Freedom of Use
  • Application of Domestic Laws
  • Space Objects
  • Astronauts and Space-related Persons
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Weapons other than Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • State Responsibility for Internationally Wrongful Act
  • Registration of space objects with the United Nations
  • Jurisdiction and Control
  • Cooperation, Mutual Assistance and Due Regard
  • Prior Consultation
  • Duty to Provide Information
  • Rescue of Astronauts and Return of Space Objects
  • Protection of the Environment
  • Harmful Contamination
  • Treatment of Astronauts
  • Passage or Transit through Foreign National Airspace
  • Military Manoeuvers, Military Bases and Military Installations
  • Damage
  • Ground-based Infrastructure
  • Space Resources
  • National Technical Means of Verification
  • National Space Activities
  • Applicability of International Law to International Organisations
  • Responsibility for Space Activities of International Organisations
  • Cyber Activities that Constitute Space Activities
  • Prohibition of the Threat or Use of Force
  • Right of Self-Defence
  • Non-intervention
  • Jamming and Spoofing of Communications
  • Lazer Dazzling
  • Inteference with Satellite Navigation and Timing Services
  • Interference with Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C)
  • Intentional Harmful Inteference with Space Activities
  • Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPOs)

The McGill Manual will be published as two separate volumes:

McGill Manual: Volume I - Rules

  • McGill Manual: Volume I - Rules, edited by Ram S. Jakhu & Steven Freeland

ISBN 978-1-77247-048-2 (e-book)

ISBN 978-1-77247-049-9 (print)

  • McGill Manual: Volume II - Rules with Commentaries, edited by Ram. S. Jakhu, Setsuko Aoki, Kuan-Wei Chen & Bayar Goswami
    (Forthcoming with Springer)


McGill Manual: Volume I - Rules contains 52 rules adopted through consensus by the entire MILAMOS Group of Experts following eight rule-drafting and consensus-forming plenary meetings held by the entire MILAMOS Group of Experts, and twelve meetings of the Editorial Committee, over a period of six years (2016-2022).

State observers were invited to the consensus-forming process to provide input on the Rules; however, the drafting of the Manual remains completely independent of any particular State, stakeholder, participating institution or collaborator. The long and meticulous drafting and consensus-forming process ensures that the Rules are expressed in clear and unambiguous language and are consistent with and reflect current international law. Prior to finalisation, to verify the accuracy of the content, the Rules have undergone scrutiny by independent external peer-reviewers.

Accompanying the Rules are the Commentaries that form a crucial and integral part of the McGill Manual. The Commentaries are published separately as McGill Manual: Volume II - Rules with Commentaries.

The Commentaries reflect points of consensus, disagreement, and, where possible, provide hypothetical examples to highlight the practical application of the relevant Rule to the specificities and realities of the space environment. The evidence-based analysis and discussions in the Commentaries provide the rationale for, and more detailed understanding of, the Rules and the relevant law as it stands, and also articulate on-going issues and future challenges with respects to various military uses of outer space.

McGill Manual: Volume II - Rules with Commentaries, to be published by Springer, contains a glossary, selected treaties and other legal instruments, and a list of all participants of the MILAMOS Project. McGill Manual: Volume II - Rules with Commentaries also captures discussion on three ‘Issues of Critical Importance’ – ‘Protection of the Environment’, ‘Laser Dazzling’ and, ‘Interference with the Global Navigation Satellite System’ - on which the Group of Experts could not reach consensus.

The Commentaries are drafted by the McGill Team (comprising of Ram S. Jakhu, Kuan-Wei Chen and Bayar Goswami), based on the pre-existing collaboration and consultation with the MILAMOS Group of Experts and seek to reflect the collective efforts and views of the Group of Experts to the greatest possible extent. In addition, the comprehensiveness of the Commentaries to the Rules is achieved through a public consultation process.

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