Outer Space Law: Legal Policy and Practice
Consulting Editors: Yanal Abul Failat and Anel Ferreira-Snyman
ISBN: 978 1 91107 819 7
LAWYERS LOST IN SPACE? THE POSSIBLILITY IS NO LONGER REMOTE
An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers
and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”
As usual, the law does tend to lag behind the dizzying pace of technological change. And, as this new title from Globe Law and Business implies, it’s about time for the law to catch up; in this case, with the continuingly emerging developments in outer space activities in which private entrepreneurs, as well as nation states are becoming involved.
But if one forgets about the law just for a nano-second (scarcely possible, we know, but bear with us) the contemplation of the future of humankind in space stirs the blood, either with excitement or dread.
There will be great adventures and great discoveries out there, but these will inevitably generate serious complications, many of them legal as well as technical. Think, for example, of legal issues concerning property, insurance and liability, all stemming from the law of contract.
This book points to certain key problems here. The introductory chapter, for example, refers to the current situation whereby the legal and regulatory framework for outer space activities begins at the international level whether state or private entities are involved -- and that private participants must be cognizant of this regime.
The book’s editors however, make the point that ‘current outer space treaties are, to a large degree, outdated and unable to deal with legal issues arising from military and commercial use of outer space.’
a compilation of the research carried out by its over twenty international contributors, ‘Outer Space Law’ addresses many such problems, issues and eventualities. The expertise contained in this book is impressive, as it comes not exclusively from lawyers and academics, but from insurers, economists and financiers as well -- and yes, space venturers. To say that this book delivers a varied mix of insights and experience is no doubt an understatement.
What isn’t an understatement, as pointed out by the editors, is that ‘the space industry contributes to national GDP… and serves as a catalyst for technological advancement, productivity and growth.’ They add that ‘private actors’ elbowing their way into the space industry have created a situation in which legal issues -- such as intellectual property rights in space, for example -- have begun to emerge. ‘Non-state entities’, they say are becoming involved in pioneering endeavours aimed at making space travel a commonplace rather than a rarity.
Writing in the foreword, the CEO of Starchaser Industries Limited is quite clear that space tourism (which is only one facet of space activity) is ‘set to become very lucrative indeed.’
Lawyers, especially the younger, forward-looking contingent reaching for those elusive stars, should have a read of this book. Authoritative as well as speculative, it does deliver more than a few hopeful glimpses of all those economic benefits which could eventually materialize via the space industry.