Is the future of law in outer space? | Hudson McKenzie

Is the future of law in outer space?

January 22, 2018 | Latest Thinking, News

As ‘space tourism’ now becomes a more plausible reality, with humans already inhabiting the International Space Station since 1998, how long is it before law firms globally will have to adapt and seriously consider the understanding of ‘space law’, as part of their practice?

The United Nations Office for Outer Space (UNOOSA) already promotes international cooperation for any uses in outer space, in which ‘space law’ is the “body of law applicable to governing space-related activities”, with the aim to promote the benefits and interests of humankind.

Following from this, already in place are five international treaties and agreements that govern the activities in space, with the ‘Outer Space Treaty’ being the most notable, as it was signed by 103 countries including the USA, Russia and the UK in 1967.

Therefore, it could be argued that by promoting international cooperation worldwide, ‘space law’ is able to simultaneously increase the application of Human Rights law globally, as by uniting within the ‘space law’ treaties, this could decrease discrepancies between countries, as a unifying element.

Furthermore, through outer space development, this may also create new avenues within law for the understanding of ‘tourism’, as human beings may be regularly ‘immigrating’ to outer space in a possible and perhaps foreseeable, future.

Thus, should law firms be more conscientious of this prospective future of law, regarding the evolution of space exploration and habitation? Will the border of the future be between Planet Earth and outer space, rather than between countries?

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Author: Portia Vincent-Kirby