International Institute of Space Law

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Issue 2, 2022 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Matching Dynamics and Flexibility for the New Space Age

Keywords Arbitration, Private Actors, Disputes, Outer Space Rules
Authors Maura Zara and Alex Marinova
AbstractAuthor's information

    One of the main tasks of international law is to establish the foundations for peace and stability. As Art. 2, par. 3 of the Charter of the United Nations states: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered”. Keeping this objective in mind, one must consider the close correlation between the exponential growth of actors aiming to operate in the space market and the potential increase of possible disputes between them. Furthermore, emphasis must be placed on a consideration which is as important as it is obvious, namely that a peaceful environment is conducive to the well-being of the market and business. In this respect, the use of legislative instruments to define the parameters for a rapid and effective resolution of disputes arising from space activities, can contribute to the development of an environment which is able to coordinate the entry and permanence of all actors in the sector. Starting from this indefectible presupposition, this paper examines the peculiar position of the new private actors operating in the space market, which require rethinking of traditional dispute resolution dynamics, highlighting their specific needs, including agile paths in the attribution of competence with respect to the peculiarities of a dispute, a faster resolution of disputes and clarification and development of the applicable legal standards in the sector. This study continues with an analysis of the three means of dispute settlement that appear closer to these needs, shedding light to their pros and cons: arbitration, mediation and conciliation. On the basis of this analysis, particular attention is placed on the benefits of arbitration, also through a comparison of its use in other emerging industries that seem to have similarities with the space sector demands. This will lead to an inevitable reflection on the PCA Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes relating to Space Activities, ten years after their adoption. Starting from its key Provisions, this paper intends to point out the aspects that have caused a poor application of these rules, operating on which its effectiveness can be implemented. Our study concludes with a reflection on the adequacy of arbitration as a means of resolution of space-related disputes, with reference to the desirability of setting up ad hoc courts in this area.

Maura Zara
First Steps Legal, Italy. Corresponding Author.

Alex Marinova
First Steps Legal, United Kingdom.

    The increasing number of satellite constellations poses many significant challenges. Given the continued growth of the amount of space debris and due to the potential harmful interference in orbits, as at least two consequences of the emergence of the large constellations, resolving the international disputes arising from launching satellite constellations is deemed to be one of the main concerns in this regard. This paper aims at answering the main question that considering the shortcomings of international space law dispute resolution mechanisms, how can disputes arising from large satellite constellations, be more appropriately settled. Among the space law treaties, except for Article XIV of the 1972 Liability Convention which foresees the establishment of a Claims Commission, there are no binding dispute settlement provisions. Due to the urgent necessity of dealing with these disputes, international arbitration is to be considered as the most appropriate mean for the dispute settlement of constellations.

S. Hadi Mahmoudi
S. Hadi Mahmoudi, Department of International Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

Sima Moradinasab
Department of International Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran.

Access_open International Investment Law as a Framework to Protect Private Actors in Outer Space

Authors Vivasvat (Viva) Dadwal, Carson W. Bennett and Charles (Chip) Rosenberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    A fast-growing global space economy requires a clear, consistent, and transparent regime of rights and remedies that can balance the needs and interests of private and State actors. The opposite – politicization of rights and an absence of the rule of law – breeds uncertainty, hinders the peaceful and effective settlement of disputes, and impedes private investment flows in outer space. Within the context of State responsibility, the scope and nature of private rights and remedies are guided by three main questions. First, should States protect private actors and their investments in outer space? Second, which rights should be protected in outer space? Third, how might private actors exercise such rights to seek redress for harm committed by States in outer space? Insights and lessons from the international investment law regime are well-suited to assist in the strengthening of an international rules-based space order.

Vivasvat (Viva) Dadwal
King & Spalding LLP.

Carson W. Bennett
King & Spalding LLP.

Charles (Chip) Rosenberg
King & Spalding LLP.

Access_open Re-invigorating International Arbitration of Space Related Disputes by National Legislation

Keywords dispute resolution, national space law, arbitration, non-governmental entities
Authors Michael Friedl and Maximilian Gartner
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since the 1960s, treaties have been instrumental in setting the law of outer space. Increasingly, technical and economic realities live up to the ambitions envisaged by the drafters. In due time, this will lead to an ever growing number of private-to-private, private-to-state and state-to-state disputes. Already, existing space related dispute resolution mechanisms between states remain largely untested. The same is true for space related disputes involving private parties, which will require other means of effective resolution. We proposes to de-politicize disputes involving private parties where possible. To this end, we suggest coordinated national legislation by states parties to the UN space treaties to make agreement to compulsory jurisdiction of an arbitral body for resolving certain international disputes regarding space activities part of their national licensing requirement for space activities. This paper outlines the most salient advantages, disadvantages and obstacles to the creation of such a coordinate transnational system.

Michael Friedl
University of Vienna

Maximilian Gartner
University of Bologna

    Outer space activities are no longer in the exclusive domain of States. There has been a marked increase in commercial space activities in recent years, with private players taking the lead in new space developments. As the commercial space sector grows, so too do the number of commercial space-related disputes. Contractual arrangements are likely to underpin most of these matters. This given, how different are commercial space-related disputes going to be from disputes in other industry sectors? Are existing mechanisms for dispute resolution adequate to address the needs of commercial space players? Or do specialised methods of dispute resolution need to be developed? The authors offer a practitioner’s perspective.

Naomi Briercliffe
Partner, Squire Patton Boggs.

Pranay Lekhi
Associate, Allen & Overy LLP.

Access_open Using Social Media to Promote Space Law Education and Dispute Settlement

Developing Stellar Decisis, the Animated Space Law Moot Court Educational Series

Keywords Space Law, Moot Court, Social Media, YouTube, Dispute Resolution, Education, Animation, IISL
Authors Christopher Hearsey, Nathan Johnson and Nivedita Raju
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, Christopher Hearsey, Nathan Johnson, and Nivedita Raju explore the future of dispute settlement arising from space activities and space law education through storytelling using a multi-episode educational series called Stellar Decisis. Launched on July 20, 2021, on SCF’s YouTube channel, Stellar Decisis is an animated space law moot court educational series produced by the Space Court Foundation (SCF). Our paper discusses the production and lessons learned from the development of Stellar Decisis and explores space and international law themes through the lens of future dispute settlement using a fictitious court that operates in space. Finally, we outline and announce the administration of a survey for space professionals, scholars, and practitioners relating to participants’ expectations of dispute settlement mechanisms needed to address issues arising from current and future space activities and its importance for space law education and training.

Christopher Hearsey
The Space Court Foundation

Nathan Johnson
The Space Court Foundation

Nivedita Raju
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute