European Journal of Law Reform

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Issue 1, 2016 Expand all abstracts

Guest Editorial

Authors George D. Kyriakopoulos
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George D. Kyriakopoulos
Lecturer in International Law, School of Law, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Parliamentary Diplomacy in the United Nations and Progressive Development of Space Law

Keywords COPUOS, Legal Subcommittee, law making, agenda, working methods
Authors Tare Brisibe
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    Recent and on-going efforts by individual or groups of states aim to organize parliamentary mechanisms and substantive issues concerning space law. The article addresses organizational matters of the Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and particularly the debate between procedure and substance. The article enquires whether amending the parliamentary process can be expected to yield results in the absence of agreement to proceed on substantive matters. Whilst highlighting the achievements of COPUOS and its LSC in the progressive development and codification of space law, attention is paid to salient decisions concerning organizational matters, taken with respect to the COPUOS and its LSC spanning the period 1990 to 1999 and post 1999 to present. Analysis is undertaken of reasons for presumed decline, alongside current and future perspectives that shall influence COPUOS and its LSC in their respective law making functions.

Tare Brisibe
Barrister & Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Legal Consultant and former Chair of the UN COPUOS Legal Subcommittee for the biennium 2012-2014.

Peaceful Purposes? Governing the Military Uses of Outer Space

Keywords space law, armed conflict, peaceful purposes, space warfare
Authors Steven Freeland
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    The development of satellite technology to enhance the exploration and use of outer space has continued at a rapid rate ever since the space age began in 1957. Satellites play a vital part of many aspects of daily life, and also with respect to the conduct of armed conflict. Most military leaders regard space-related technology as an integral element of their strategic battle platform. This reflects the changing technological nature of armed conflict, which challenges many aspects of international law, including the regulation of warfare. This is particularly the case with respect to the use of satellite technology. Moreover, the continuing development of this technology challenges the core of the ‘peaceful purposes’ doctrine that underpins the international regulation of outer space. This article discusses the application of the United Nations Space Treaties and the laws of war to the use of outer space during armed conflict and offers some reflections as to what is required to properly address the issue.

Steven Freeland
Professor of International Law, Western Sydney University; Visiting Professor, University of Vienna: Permanent Visiting Professor, iCourts Centre of Excellence for International Courts, Denmark; Member of Faculty, London Institute of Space Policy and Law; Director, International Institute of Space Law; Member of the Space Law Committee, International Law Association; Member, European Centre of Space Law.

The European Space Agency as a European Institution and a Space Law Maker

Keywords European institution, access to space, innovation and development, space law, international cooperation
Authors Marco Ferrazzani
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    The European Space Agency was set-up over 40 years ago and has delivered on expectations from the scientific community’s quest for more knowledge, from the politicians wishing for more Europe and from the business community developing industrial and operational capabilities. All has been made possible thanks to hard-working scientists and space engineers who created and progressively refined a magic formula of balanced interests and respectful co-operation. The diplomats and lawyers well understood the challenges and so defined long-term policy objectives and a stable legal framework necessary to meet them, therefore providing institutional skills and appropriate financing tools which proved successful, and still today make this particular aspect of Europe. The ESA Convention, along with the activities and programmes based in its framework continue to serve as a living example of how to make Europe with a cooperative formula of a common Agency and law maker, giving access to space for all European citizens.

Marco Ferrazzani
ESA Legal Counsel, European Space Agency, 10 rue Mario Nikis, 75015 Paris. Email: marco.ferrazzani@esa.int.

Space Debris Remediation, Its Regulation and the Role of Europe

Keywords space debris, remediation, European Union, European Space Agency, International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities
Authors Jan Wouters, Philip De Man and Rik Hansen
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    Ever since the launch of the first space object, discarded bits and pieces ranging from disused payloads and spent upper stages to single bolts and tiny flakes of paint have been cluttering outer space, making valuable and widely used orbits and trajectories to and from earth increasingly unsafe for future use. The response of the international community to this immediate threat to the sustainable use of outer space has been slow and haphazard and remains limited to non-binding guidelines and technical recommendations for space debris mitigation. Recent events such as the 2007 Chinese ASAT test and the 2009 collision between an active American and an in-operational Russian communications satellite demonstrate that more needs to be done in order to develop a strong international regime on active debris remediation. Given the complexities of these issues and the lengthy nature of international negotiations, one should not expect a comprehensive legal regime for space debris mitigation and remediation to materialize any time soon. As it is in the own interest of its users to preserve outer space for future exploration and use, the regulation of debris mitigation by space agencies may well prove a valuable alternative as a starting point for binding remediation rules. Since new international initiatives in this respect are lacking, the present article looks at the various space actors in Europe and at the role some of them may play in developing global rules of space debris remediation.

Jan Wouters
Jean Monnet Chair ad personam EU and Global Governance, Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations and Director of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and Institute for International Law, University of Leuven.

Philip De Man
Project Manager, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven.

Rik Hansen
Doctoral Researcher at the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies and the Institute for International Law of the University of Leuven.

Some Legal Aspects of Space Natural Resources

Keywords space law, space mining, private property rights, United States Space Law, United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
Authors Ram S. Jakhu and Yaw Otu Mankata Nyampong
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    Critical natural resources on the earth will be depleted before the close of this century. As such, humanity must explore for additional natural resources in places beyond the earth (i.e. in outer space and on other planets) in order to sustain life on earth. An appropriate international regulatory regime would be indispensable if such exploration is to succeed and result in the orderly exploitation of space natural resources. Presently, the international regulatory regime governing the exploration and potential exploitation of space natural resources is inadequate and lacks sufficient clarity. This article addresses some important legal aspects of the exploration and exploitation of space natural resources both from an international and a national perspective. Specifically, it analyzes the relevant provisions of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1979 Moon Agreement in addition to some recent regulatory developments occurring in the United States. Finally, it provides an outlook for the future legal regime that may be required to guarantee the orderly exploration and exploitation of space natural resources.

Ram S. Jakhu
Associate Professor, Institute of Air and Space Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Yaw Otu Mankata Nyampong
Senior Legal Officer, Pan African University, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Criminal Issues in International Space Law

Keywords space law, criminal law, international law, jurisdiction, space exploration
Authors Michael Chatzipanagiotis
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    This paper attempts to outline the rules and principles of international space law governing criminal activity in outer space or on board a space object. The relevant issues concern mainly the exercise of criminal jurisdiction, including extradition, and the disciplinary authority on board a space object. First, we examine the pertinent rules of general international law. Then, we analyse the applicable provisions of general space law, namely the Outer Space Treaty and the Moon Agreement, as well as the special rules on the International Space Station. Subsequently, we attempt to propose solutions to the main future challenges in international space law, which regard criminal behaviour on board aerospace vehicles, aboard private space stations, and issues regarding interplanetary missions and human settlements on celestial bodies.

Michael Chatzipanagiotis
Attorney-at-law, Athens, Greece; Adjunct Professor, European University of Cyprus, Law School, Nicosia, Cyprus.