Space law course - first of its kind - at the University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide has announced that this year’s Winter School Programme will feature a short, intensive postgraduate course on Strategic Space Law.

The one-week course looks at the legal ramifications of what happens in space and is available primarily to Masters of Law students at Adelaide, but also to the general public.  The course will cover both military and non-military aspects of space and includes a visit to Woomera, South Australia’s most famous space science region.

Professor Melissa de Zwart from the University of Adelaide’s Law School explains: "We're now more sophisticated in our use of space – from telecommunications, to GPS systems, and military spy technology. There are plans to change how we live on earth by using space, and considerations about the future of human involvement in space, such as space tourism, or bases on the Moon and Mars. This presents a wide range of legal issues, for example, what if an Australian injures a North Korean on the International Space Station, which legal regime applies? What happens if one country’s satellite crashes into another’s – who is to blame, and what recourse is there to claim damages?"

The short course has been designed in conjunction with McGill University in Montreal and is an important step towards developing further research and teaching in the field.

Associate Professor Dale Stephens said: "Military uses of space are expanding, especially in the context of weapons capability and satellite use. This is a largely unregulated area and there exist real conceptual and practical questions about how laws designed to regulate military operations on earth can apply in space." …"We are now working with a consortium of universities in Canada and the US on the legal ramifications of space. Our work will contribute towards the drafting of a report on space law developments, which we hope will be presented as an annual update to the United Nations General Assembly."

The Strategic Space Law course will be running from the 29th June until 3rd July 2015.  There is more information available on the University of Adelaide's website.

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