The Centre for Aviation and Space Laws of the WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata is organizing an online International Conference on National Space Legislation on 27th February 2021.
The space activities started predominantly as state-oriented activities in the twentieth century. With the proactive initiatives of the United Nations, the legal regime for regulating space activities developed strongly during the 1960s and 1970s. The period between 1967 and 1979 has been the golden era in terms of the development of space law as the five international treaties to govern and regulate space activities were adopted during this period. Unfortunately, the requisite consensus for developing further space treaties obliterated after the Moon Agreement 1979. Hence, international law-making in terms of binding norms stopped despite several efforts at the UNCOPUOS level. A cursory look at the existing five international space treaties reflect the sentiment of the common rights regime strongly worded in different provisions. This is due to the understanding that the outer space, celestial bodies and the resources therein are the bounties of nature, and therefore, everyone should have rights in them. This logic also extended to embrace the principle of benefit sharing in space law to respect the rights and interests of all.
Twenty first century is evidencing dramatic changes in space activities with increased commercialization. Private players are taking lead in carrying on various commercial space activities. This shift from State-oriented scientific space activities to private sector-oriented commercial space activities has brought forward several issues, which require legal regulation. As the States incur responsibility and liability for both public and private space activities under the existing international space treaties, they cannot allow the private space activities to be unregulated. In the absence of international space law developments, States are left with the only option of enacting national space legislation. Consequently, since the beginning of this century, several States are making efforts to enact their national space laws. Even the International Law Association has prepared a Model Law on National Space Legislation to minimize divergence in approaches and to bring some harmony in enacting national space laws by the States.
The development of the national space laws need to be in consonance with the commitments of the States under the international space treaties. However, the current developments in several States pose serious doubts about their adherence to international space treaties’ obligations. In their zeal to promote the commercialization of space activities, some States have developed their national laws in complete disregard to the international space law principles developed in the twentieth century. The United States of America, for example, has even gone to the extent of rejecting the global common’s status of outer space and celestial bodies. Various ideas are being floated for extracting the resources from celestial bodies and also for conferring private property rights over them; contrary to the principles set forth in the space treaties. Unfortunately, other States are not uniting together against such ideas, and some are even trying to adopt a unilateral approach towards intensive commercialization as reflected in the US approach. This is certainly a dangerous trend.
In the wake of above concerns, the Centre for Aviation and Space Laws of the WB National University of Juridical Sciences finds it timely to organize an international conference to map the current developments in national space legislation. The focus of this conference is to find out how far the national space laws of different States deviate from their international treaty obligations and what corrective steps are required to ensure that international harmony is maintained in space exploration. This endeavor is expected to contribute positively in leading a way for developing balanced national space laws, especially in the States where the attempts are currently going on to enact national space legislation.
Major Sub-Themes of the Conference
- Critical issues in licensing private space activities in different States
- Dealing with the aspects of responsibility and liability under the existing national space laws
- Property rights and national space laws
- Space demilitarization: National regulations
- National legal responses for protecting space environment
- Dealing with IPR issues under the national space laws
- Remote sensing policies and data protection
- National space legislation for India
Call for Papers
- Those who are interested in presenting a paper on any of the above themes must send an abstract of 400 words along with a brief biographical note (not more than 100 words) on or before 20 January 2021.
- The acceptance of the paper for presentation would be informed by 25 January 2021.
- A full-length paper of 5,000-6,000 words must be sent by 20 February 2021.
- If the full length paper is not submitted before the last date, authors will not be allowed to present the paper in the Conference.
- Submission of the full paper would be presumed as unconditional consent of the author/s for a possible publication by the organizers.
- Last date for submission of Abstract: 20 January 2021
- Last date for submission of Full Paper: 20 February 2021
- Conference Date: 27 February 2021
All submissions must be sent to casl[at]nujs.edu
- As this academic exercise is on the current concern faced by the international community, participation from various segments of the society is expected.
- While academicians, students, and researchers would benefit immensely from the discussions, the legal practitioners would also be able to acquaint themselves with this emerging branch of law.
- With the participation of internationally renowned space law experts as resource persons, even the lawmakers and other government representatives would be benefited out of their participation in this international conference.
Certificates would be issued to only those participants who attend all sessions.