May 31, 2019 - Jun 1, 2019
Open to: Students, Academicians, Researchers, Advocates, Scientists, Engineers and Professionals
Contact person: Prof. Sreenidhi K. R. | 9845436878
International Conference in Aviation & Space Law
School of Legal Studies
Aviation law and space law are presently the two most significant fields of law at both international and national levels. Ever since the first engine powered flight in 1903, the international civil aviation has developed leaps and bounds. The short time span required to travel faraway destinations in modern day aircrafts has made air travel the most convenient means of transportation for business, tourism, professional and other purposes. With the increase in civil aviation, there was a requirement of its legal regulation to avoid conflicts. The first question that arose in the international level in this regard was, whether air space should be subject to international norms or domestic norms? The determination of applicable norms was dependent on solving the debate between sovereignty and freedom in airspace. Since this debate was sorted out in favour of state sovereignty, subject to the freedom of other states (under Chicago Convention 1944 and related instruments), the civil aviation norms across the world have come to be a combination of domestic and international norms.
The International Civil Aviation Organization was established as a nodal body at the international level to further the cause of legal regulation of civil aviation. Ever since its establishment, ICAO has developed strong regulatory mechanisms on various aspects of civil aviation in the form of Annexes to Chicago Convention, which are to be adopted by the member states. However, there are many areas in which substantial work is still pending. Hence, the future role of the ICAO is of particular significance in the civil aviation sector. This is of prime importance especially in the twenty-first century due to the manifold increase in aviation activities and much needed cooperation between states and airlines to take aviation to the next level of development.
Though there have been significant developments in the regimes governing carriers’ liability, damage caused to third parties, aviation insurance, civil aviation crimes etc., there are differences in their application in different countries. This has been due to the failure to get adequate state ratifications for many international instruments, which amend and improve upon the older instruments in respective fields. Therefore, it is significant to probe into the current status of aviation law at both the international and national levels to identify problems as well as to adequately address those problems with a view to establish uniformity, which helps in reducing confusion in the application of aviation laws.
In contrast with aviation law, major international developments in space law have halted several decades back with the lack of consensus among states to enter into treaties. The last international treaty in the field of outer space is the Moon Agreement, which was entered into 40 years ago. Though the Moon Agreement contains strong provisions for regulating activities on the moon and other celestial bodies, it has failed to obtain ratification from a majority of the states. The absence of legal developments in the last four decades has not prevented tremendous technological developments in the field of outer space, which is now posing great legal challenges to the world community. International treaties governing outer space were entered at a time when only states were the players in outer space. Most of those state activities in outer space were also confined to scientific activities. But with the entry of private players into the realm of space, the nature of space activities has changed from scientific to commercial. This has shaken some of the bedrock principles of space law, which were strongly rooted since the beginning of space activities. Most significant among them are the principles associated with common rights in outer space.
Technological developments have resulted in the development of hybrid aerospace objects, which have the features of aircrafts as well as space objects. Given this fact, one of the crucial questions is the determination of law governing such objects and persons on board such objects – as aviation law and space law are completely distinct in nature. Added to this, the current fascination about space tourism brings forward the debate on the applicability of benefit of emergency assistance under space law available to astronauts and personnel, who enjoy the status of being envoys of mankind, to commercial space tourists.
The concerns in space activities are increasing further due to unregulated activities, both commercial and military, by some space-faring nations. While military activities pose threat to global peace and security, extensive commercial activities (in the absence of benefit sharing) are widening the gap between the rich and poor countries. In the absence of international regulation of private commercial space activities, some states are developing their laws to regulate private space activities in their jurisdictions. However, in a race to attract more and more investments from private players in space activities, fundamental principles of space law are being compromised by the states. Moreover, the developments are also leading to the problem diversification of laws at national levels.
In light of the above issues, there is an absolute need to deliberate on current challenges in aviation and space law. An international conference in this field would go a long way in addressing these issues and developing laws. This two day international conference is intended to provide a platform for a scholarly debate among academicians, lawyers, experts, policymakers and students. It is also intended that the scholarly papers presented in the conference be published in the form of an edited book.
Prof. G. S. Sachdeva
Adjunct Professor, NALSAR University of Law
Prof. V. Balakista Reddy
Professor of Law and Registrar, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
Dr. K. D. Raju
Professor of Law
Rajiv Gandhi School of IP Law, IIT Kharagpur
Prof. Kumar Abhijeet
National Law School of India University Bangalore
Prof. Sandeepa Bhat B.
Professor of Law
The WB National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata