Strategic Space Law Program

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institute of air and space law (iasl) of mcgill university

Strategic Space Law Program

An intensive, interdisciplinary and interactive program designed for lawyers and other professionals in the defence services, international relations, government, international organizations, law firms, consulting firms and industry interested in studying space law from a strategic perspective.

27 – 31 October 2014

Institute of Air and Space Law

McGill University

Montreal, Canada
First semester 2015

Adelaide Law School

University of Adelaide

Adelaide, Australia

What is it?

The McGill University Institute of, and Centre for Research in, Air and Space Law, in partnership with the University of Adelaide Law School, is pleased to present the first ever Strategic Space Law Program. The aim of the program is to provide a unique opportunity for lawyers and other professionals in the defence services, international relations, government, international organisations, law firms, consulting firms and industry around the world to study space law in a strategic context. The Montreal program will be run as a one-week intensive, interdisciplinary, interactive workshop (non-assessable) at the Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University in October 2014. Thereafter, the program will be repeated in the form of a graduate course (assessable for academic credit) at the University of Adelaide Law School during the first semester of 2015. On both occasions, the substantive content of the program will be the same and will be delivered by world-class academics, legal and policy advisors and subject-matter experts drawn from government, civil society (including academia) and commerce.

Program Highlights

  • 23 core lectures from experts on the principles and concepts involved in the various disciplines that touch on Strategic Space Law.

  • Hands-on workshops and practical exercises linked to lectures, on topics such as space traffic management, military use of spectrum, space debris and simulated legal, policy and commercial problem-solving and debate.

  • Social and other networking activities.

  • Professional visits to relevant sites (may include the Canadian Space Agency and Woomera launch site in South Australia).

Who are the expert-instructors?

  • Duncan BlakeLegal Advisor, Defence Space Coordinating Office, Department of Defence, Australia (not representing DoD).

  • Paul Dempsey – Director and Tomlinson Professor of Global Governance in Air and Space Law, Institute of Air and Space Law McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

  • Melissa de Zwart – Associate Professor, University of Adelaide Law School, Adelaide, Australia.

  • Steven Freeland – Professor of International Law, Co-Director of Research and HDR, University of Western Sydney School of Law, Australia.

  • Patrick Gleeson – former Senior Lawyer (Canadian Forces military operations), Department of National Defence, Ottawa, Canada (not representing DND).

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

  • Donna Lawler – Assistant General Counsel, Optus Telecommunications (not representing Optus).

  • Darrin Lovett – Executive Agent for Space, Department of Defence, USA (not representing DoD).

  • Emma Lovett – Australian legal officer currently on exchange at the Pentagon (not representing DoD).

  • Paul Meyer (TBC) – Adjunct Professor of International Studies and Fellow in International Security, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada.

  • Patrick Schwomeyer – USAF Judge Advocate, NORAD (not representing DoD).

  • Dale Stephens – Associate Professor, University of Adelaide Law School, Adelaide, Australia.

  • Brian Weeden – Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation, Washington DC, USA.

Why study Strategic Space Law?

Today there are approximately 1,100 active satellites in orbit and the number of States directly involved in launching or operating satellites has grown substantially since the dawn of the space age. Even States that have no direct involvement in launching or operating satellites rely heavily on space infrastructure: for television, radio, banking, communications, transport, agriculture, mining, and especially for modern military services. Yet, those satellites are under increasing threat from 100,000s of pieces of space debris and increasing harmful radio interference. Furthermore, some States already possess counter-space weapons and other means capable of destroying or disrupting satellites and other States have plans to develop those capabilities. There is also greater competition for use of the limited radio frequency spectrum and prime orbital slots that are indispensable for the operation of all satellites.

Outer space is becoming more contested, congested and competitive. Concurrently, the global security situation generally is less certain. Financial and other constraints have made global powers more inward-looking and less likely to deploy forces globally – except through the sort of ‘remote reach’ capabilities that rely on space infrastructure (such as uninhabited aerial vehicles and cyber warfare). Secure, ongoing access to fossil fuels is a growing concern, yet all States are wary of the nuclear energy option and its relationship to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Ballistic missiles, as the means of delivery of nuclear weapons, involve space flight and ballistic missile defence also relies on space-based infrastructure. Thus, space is a key element in global security, yet it is also increasingly vulnerable to the threats described above.

There is a real danger that outer space will become a wild and lawless frontier and there is evidence of that view already. Yet, there is a legal framework (i.e. rule of law) for outer space of growing complexity, which must be fully understood and complied with by all involved in strategic space matters. The challenges confronting space-based infrastructure have implications for all States, not just the superpower, space-faring States and implications for all sectors, not just the military or government.

Who is the program for?

  • Lawyers and other professionals in the defence services, international relations, government, international organisations, law firms, consulting firms and industry around the world.

  • Academics, graduate researchers and students studying or interested in strategic issues, international relations, public policy and law.

What knowledge and skills will you acquire?

You will study the strategic space law framework. You will be able to explain the legal parameters around the current strategic challenges for space-based infrastructure and services and you will explore various legal means to address those challenges. When you successfully complete this program, you will have the space law knowledge and skills to:

  • demonstrate advanced knowledge of the intersection of law, strategy and outer space;

  • critically analyze complex problems arising from the application of law to space security;

  • broadly understand the interests and stakeholders in a variety of contexts associated with strategic space law;

  • independently develop legal or policy recommendations in response to those problems; and

  • engage in relevant, strategic policy-making, drafting and negotiating domestic and international legal instruments, diplomatic representation, capability development, conferences, meetings and commerce.

Ultimately, you will acquire the knowledge and skills to make a significant contribution to global space security, for the benefit of all nations.

What qualifications will you receive?

Students completing the Strategic Space Law course at the University of Adelaide may be awarded 3 units of credit towards a graduate qualification (i.e. LL.M), which will be recognised at any Australian university (individual arrangements would need to be made with other universities). Persons not wanting to undertake the assessments for the Strategic Space Law course at the University of Adelaide may audit the course for a lesser fee. It is possible for students to enrol in the course at Adelaide for academic credit and physically undertake the course at McGill University in Montreal.

The Strategic Space Law program at McGill University will be run as a workshop and will be non-assessable. Participants will be given a Certificate of Participation at the end of the workshop. Participants may also undertake the program at McGill University, but concurrently enrol at the University of Adelaide and, on completion of assessments set by the University of Adelaide, participants may also be awarded 3 units of credit towards postgraduate qualification.

Program Fees

Although the substantive content of the program will be identical at both sessions, different fees will be charged for each session.

The fee applicable to the one-week intensive Strategic Space Law program offered at McGill University in October is $500.00 (CAD). This fee will cover registration, course materials, lunches and refreshment breaks. As indicated above, McGill University will not grant academic credit to any person who enrols in the Strategic Space Law Program. This notwithstanding, students from other universities wishing to obtain academic credit for the McGill intensive program may do so by enrolling with, and paying the applicable fee (see below) to, the University of Adelaide Law School. For such students, the program will be assessable although taken in an intensive format. In addition, such students will be responsible for making all necessary arrangements to ensure that any academic credit granted by the University of Adelaide will be recognized by their home institutions

The fee for the 3 credit unit Strategic Space Law course at the University of Adelaide is approximately $3000 (AUD). This fee will apply to students taking the course at the University of Adelaide in the first semester of 2015 as well as students who enrol in the McGill program in October 2014 who desire to obtain academic credit for it through the University of Adelaide Law School. Students may audit the course (that is not receive academic credit) at Adelaide University in the first semester 2015 for a fee of $500.00 (AUD) though will still need to apply to undertake the course on an audit basis.


To apply for the Strategic Space Law Program at McGill University (October 2014 session), please complete and submit the attached registration form and payment by September 15, 2014 to:

Ms. Maria D'Amico

Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University

3690 Peel Street, Room 205

Montreal, QC, Canada, H3A 1W9


To enrol in the Strategic Space Law Course at the University of Adelaide or to obtain academic credit or information about the October 2014 session through the University of Adelaide, please contact Mr Renato De Andrade ( or Dr Dale Stephens ( as soon as possible and in any event before October 13, 2014.

Monday: 27 October 2014

Tuesday: 28 October 2014

Wednesday: 29 October 2014

Thursday: 30 October 2014

Friday: 31 October 2014


0900 –


Course registration

Exercise preparation

Exercise preparation

4.0 Exercise (ICAO and space traffic management)

5.0 TTX– Pt 2

1000 - 1050

1.1 Welcome, administration and introduction

2.1 Space law-making process (who makes space law?)

3.1 Law of armed conflict and the conduct of space activities

4.1 Law, satellite control stations and terrestrial control of satellites

5.1 Law on space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance

1100 - 1150

1.2 Nature of the space domain

2.2 Review of basic principles of space law

3.2 International criminal law and the conduct of space activities

4.2 Law on military use of satellite communications

5.2 Law on position, navigation and timing

1200 - 1250

1.3 Civil and commercial uses of space

2.3 Liability and State responsibility in outer space

3.3 Law on launch operations and ballistic missiles

4.3 Regulating electro-magnetic radiation in space

5.3 Law on space situational awareness

1400 - 1450

1.4 Military and national security uses of space

2.4 Law on space exploration and exploitation

3.4 Missile early warning and ballistic missile defence (through space)

4.4 Law and electronic and cyber warfare

5.4 Force application (from space) and counter space ops (to and in space)

1500 - 1550

1.5 Strategy and space power theory

2.5 Law and spectrum from peace to conflict in outer space (jus ad bellum)

3.5 Diplomacy, general arms control agreements-arrangements and their application to space operations

4.5 Outer space and protection of national interests/security/sovereignty in data and information

5.5 TTX– Pt 3

1600 – 1650

1.6 Exercise (COPUOS and space debris)

2.6 TTX – Pt 1

3.6 Exercise (CD, PAROS, GGE, CoC, etc.)

4.6 Exercise (ITU & regulating military/national security use of spectrum)

5.6 Course conclusion



Exercise preparation

Exercise preparation

Exercise preparation

Program for Strategic Space Law Program – October 2014 Session, McGill University, Montreal
Strategic Space Law Program, Montreal, Oct. 27-31, 2014

Registration Form
 Mr  Mrs.  Mrs.  Dr

First Name Initial(s) Last Name


Organization / Firm


City State/Province Postal/Zip Code Country

Telephone Email

Date Signature

Registration Fee: $500.00 (CAD) includes registration for the 1-week program, refreshments, luncheons, and course materials.

Method of Payment:

Check or money order in Canadian funds payable to McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law;

MasterCard Visa American ExpressCash (onsite only)
Card No:
Expiry Date: Name of card holder:

Date: Signature of card holder:

: McGill IASL, c/o Maria D’Amico Fax number: (514) 398-8197. Fax completed registration form with credit card payment information.
: Send completed registration form with payment to: McGill University IASL, Att: Maria D’Amico, 3690 Peel Street, Montreal, Quebec, CANADA, H3A 1W9 or via email at:

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