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Introduction to Space Law - JURD7389
 Law Books

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 4
EFTSL: 0.08333 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Excluded: LAWS3291
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course is intended to examine the underlying legal principles that specifically regulate the use, exploration and exploitation of space, and to determine how these and other principles of International Law can and should be applied to the many different State and private commercial uses of outer space. Space law represents an increasingly important area of International Law and impacts on a wide range of Governmental and private commercial activities. Many activities in space affect everyday life - including telecommunications, direct satellite broadcasts, weather forecasting, agricultural planning, mapping, remote sensing, spying and other military activities, exploration and scientific experimentation. The use of space represents a multi-billion dollar industry.

Note: If taken as an 6 UOC elective, it is JURD7390.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

  • To understand the historical evolution of the existing legal regime
  • To introduce and examine the details of the five international Treaties and the various United Nations Principles which regulate certain activities in space
  • To understand the Australian legal framework regarding space activities
  • To discuss the problems and ambiguities within the existing legal regime
  • To determine and analyse the legal issues raised by new uses of space for which the existing legal regime is ill-suited
  • To examine ways in which these unanswered legal issues should be addressed

Main Topics

  • What is the legal definition of Space?
  • Why do we need a legal regime for Space?
  • The role of UNCOPUOS (U.N. Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space)
  • Space Law and Air Law compared
  • The Space Treaties: The Outer Space Treaty 1967; The Rescue Agreement 1968; The Liability Convention 1972; The Registration Convention 1975; The Moon Agreement 1979
  • The United Nations Principles: Direct Broadcasting Principles 1982; Remote Sensing Principles 1986; Nuclear Power Principles 1992
  • Intergovernmental Organisations – INTELSAT, INMARSAT, ITU, ESA
  • Telecommunications and the Geostationery Orbit
  • National regulation of launching activities
  • The Space Activities Act 1998 (Cth)


Class participation - 20%
Class seminar presentation - 20%
Short answer exam - 60%

Course Texts

Course materials will be prepared by the lecturer.

I H Ph Diederiks-Verschoor An Introduction to Space Law, 1999, 2nd Edition, Kluwer Law International, Netherlands


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.

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