The Institute of Air & Space Law and the Centre for Research in Air & Space Law

McGill University's Institute of Air & Space Law and its research arm, the Centre for Reserach in Air & Space Law, have a rich history of education, public service and scholarship.

Since 1951, the Institute has trained 1,000 specialists in air and space law from all over the world. Today, the IASL is undoubtedly the most prominent and decorated educational and research institution in the world in the domain. Its loyal graduates today serve in some of the highest legal positions in the bar, the industry, and governmental institutions in some 120 nations around the world. Read more...

Latest news and developments

Professor Ram Jakhu explores questions of the peaceful governance of space, and of the growing problems associated with space debris.

Shedding light on the rules for the final frontier

By Brenda Branswell, McGill News, April 2017

For many of us, outer space is the stuff of sci-fi movies or star-gazing.

For Ram Jakhu, LLM’78, DCL’83, it’s the focus of his research in an area he acknowledges is largely unknown to those outside the academic community — space law. Jakhu, the director of McGill’s Institute of Air and Space Law, is spearheading two international projects that tackle weighty topics, such as the rules that apply to the military use of outer space and the growing problem of space debris. Keep reading...

Fifth Manfred Lachs International Conference on Global Space Governance and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

5-6 May 2017, Montreal, Canada

The conference will address the governance mechanisms related to global outer space activities that ought to be adopted to facilitate achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.

Co-convened by

The Institute of Air and Space Law and the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law

Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

and the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety

Noordwijk, The Netherlands

In collaboration with

United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), the Canadian Space Agency, the Secure World Foundation and ROOM, The Space Journal


For more information, visit the dedicated conference page.

For the programme of the Conference, visit this page.

To register for the Conference, use this registration form.


7 February 2017 - Deadline for abstract submission
24 February 2017 - Notification to authors
28 April 2017 - Deadline for paper submission
5-6 May 2017 - Conference

10th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Liability and Insurance
22-23 June 2017, Montreal, Canada

The McGill Institute of Air and Space Law cordially invites you to attend the 10th Annual McGill Conference on International Aviation Law and Insurance, which will be taking place on 22-23 June 2017 in Montreal, Canada.

This seminar is accredited by a recognized provider for 8.5 hours of continuing legal education.
Formation d’un dispensateur reconnu aux fins de la formation continue obligatoire pour une durée de 8.5 heures

For more information about the conference, including unique opportunities for sponsorship, visit the dedicated website or contact conferences [dot] iasl [at] mcgill [dot] ca.

To register for the conference, please visit this page.

Recent thesis defenses: Isavella Vasilogeorgi and Andrea Harrington

The IASL is proud to announce that two of its graduate students have completed their degree with flying colours!

April 20, 2017: Andrea Harrington (centre, seen here with her jury) successfully defended her doctoral thesis, “Governing activities in outer space: responsibility, liability, regulation and the role of insurers”, which was written under the supervision of Professor Ram Jakhu (second from left).

April 6, 2017: Isavella Vasilogeorgi (centre) successfully defended her thesis, “Jurisdictional implications from the use of hybrid aerospace objects: at the crossroads of regenesis and redefinition”, which was written under the supervision of Professor Ram Jakhu (3rd from right).

Tanveer Ahmad appointed Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Md Tanveer Ahmad has been named the Executive Director of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (CRASL).

Dr. Ahmad (LLM'10, DCL'16), is an Arsenault postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University, the Editor of the Annals of Air and Space Law, and an Assistant Professor of Law (on leave) at the North South University, Bangladesh. During his doctoral studies, he held the prestigious Assad Kotaite Fellowship of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Boeing Fellowship in Air & Space Law.

Founded in 1976 by Dr. Nicolas Matte, the CRASL performs multidisciplinary research on technical, economic, policy and legal implications of a variety of aviation and aerospace issues. The Centre also produces several publications, among which the Annals of Air and Space Law, the world’s only bilingual journal in the field. Through various conferences and symposia, the Centre has been at the frontline of promoting research and capacity-building in the highly specialised domain of aviation and space law over the past four decades. Most notably, the Centre has spearheaded the International Study on Global Space Governance and, together with the University of Adelaide, is leading the ground-breaking project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS), which aims to promote the sustainability and security in the final frontier.

As its Executive Director, Dr. Ahmad will oversee the Centre's many outreach and research programs. With his professional experience and academic credentials, Dr. Ahmad will play important role in revitalising the Centre and cementing the Faculty of Law’s position as the world’s foremost research and educational institution in the areas of air and space law.

Obituary: Martin Bradley (1929 - 2017)

On 26 February 2017, Prof. Martin Anthony Bradley passed away at the age of 87. He was the last of, what I call, the first generation of incredible teachers, who laid the solid foundation of air and space law education at the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL) of McGill University. Consequently, they paved the way for formal academic teaching in this field in the world.  Coming from his native Australia, Bradley enrolled in the 1956-57 Master of Laws class of the Institute and earned his LL.M. with a thesis on Air Carrier's Liability in Australia. When he joined the IASL as a Professor, after many years of work as a technical assistance expert at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, the subject of his thesis became the basis for his teaching both the International Private Air Law and Government Regulation of Air Transport. In addition to the publication of several scholarly articles, he co-edited, with Edward McWhinney, two books entitled The Freedom of the Air and New Frontiers in Space Law, both published in 1969. They contained very highly scholarly papers by several early scholars in the field of air and space with ideas that were groundbreaking at the time and till this day still remain relevant. These books were used by students, government officials and practitioners in various countries. During more than three decades of dedicated service at the IASL, Prof. Bradley inspired, taught, and helped hundreds of students from numerous countries, most of whom them have been holding high professional positions in the field of air and space law. They all remain indented to this great teacher (a real guru) with incredible humanistic values. I am one of them, as I was admitted to the IASL on his personal recommendation.

Thank you, Prof. Bradley.

Ram S. Jakhu, Director, Institute of Air and Space Law

ITU Symposium on Earth Stations on board Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for the control and non-payload communications (CNPC)

Unfortunately, due to conflicts with other ITU activities, the organisers regret this event has been postponed till further notice.
apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Following the success of previous ITU Satellite Symposiums and at the kind invitation of the Institute of Air and Space Law, the Radiocommunication Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is pleased to invite you to participate in the Montreal 2017 UAS CNPC Symposium taking place in Montreal, Canada.

Participation of representatives of governments, regulators, private sector, organizations and any stakeholder dealing with UAS for CNPC is strongly encouraged.

To register for the Symposium, please visit the ITU's website. For more practical information, kindly download this document.

Submission to the Annals of Air and Space Law, Volume XLII (2017)

The deadline to submit an article for Volume XLII (2017) of the Annals is 31 July 2017.
Please send original unpublished manuscripts in Microsoft Word format to the edannals [dot] law [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Editor of the Annals).

Workshop I of the MILAMOS Project held in Adelaide, Australia

More than 50 legal experts, technical experts, researchers and others came together in Adelaide over the period 20 – 22 February 2017 for the first MILAMOS Workshop. Following the preliminary coordination Workshop in October 2016 in Montreal, this was the first of a set of nine Workshops to reach consensus on draft Rules and Commentaries for the prospective McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (McGill Manual).

The MILAMOS members who were gathered together in Adelaide tackled several of the most foundational rules (and their associated commentary), as well as complex issues at the intersection of international space lLaw, iInternational humanitarian law and international law on the use of force. The MILAMOS Project remains on track to publish the McGill Manual in 2020. This Workshop was very successful and set a solid foundation for the following Workshops. The next MILAMOS Workshop is expected to be 20–23 June 2017 in New Delhi, India.

For more information on the Workshop and the Project, please visit the dedicated MILAMOS Project website.

The IASL class of 2016 visits Air Canada and ICAO

On 28 November 2016, a group of 22 students enjoyed the unique opportunity to visit the headquarters of Air Canada. Under the hospitality of employees at Air Canada, they were given a special tour of the crew training facilities and enjoyed lectures by seasoned professionals at the legal and regulatory affairs department and the network planning department of Canada's flag carrier. The visit was a special occasion to learn about the fascinating issues and challenges of operating in the competitive airline industry. There, students  gained first-hand understanding on how, through a variety of innovative business practices and careful management and planning, Air Canada is recognised as one of the top air carriers in North America. The visit was made possible with the kind assistance of IASL alumna and Adjunct Professor Martine de Serre, who teaches Government Regulation of Air Transport, and Ms. Kerianne Wilson, who during her studies at the Institute began working in legal and regulatory affairs at Air Canada.

Some of the students in the LLM Air and Space Law programme in ICAO Council Chamber.

The visit to Air Canada, as well as a recent visit to and guided tour of the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization, is one of many class trips to renowned aviation and space industries and forms an integral part of the educational programme at the IASL. Great emphasis is placed on practical experiences and allowing students to network with professionals in the field. The group of students is made up of students from the regular LLM programme in Air and Space Law, exchange students and final year undergraduate students at the McGill Faculty of Law who are taking the Airline Business and Law course on offer at the Institute. As in previous years, the students hail from 14 countries and are representative of the international and intercultural learning environment that the Institute is proud of.

Institute of Air and Space Law 65th Anniversary Gala

On 7 October 2016, the Institute of Air and Space Law celebrated its 65th anniversary at a gala event held in Montreal. The festive event was attended by over 120 participants. Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and Mr. John Augustin, Director of the ICAO Legal Bureau, were among the VIPs present and added to the celebratory mood with their presence.

Director Ram Jakhu with Lifelong Dedicated Service Award recipient Ms. Maria D'Amico. Maria is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the Institute and has been for the past 38 years.An inspiring keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Yves Desjardins-Siciliano (President and CEO of VIA Rail, a graduate of the IASL). Prof. Armand de Mestral (former Director of the IASL) presented thoughts on the important role that IASL plays in the air and space law education in the world, while Dr. Michael Milde (former Director of the IASL) traced the historical origin of the Institute. Current IASL Director Ram Jakhu provided the guests at the gala with a "State of the IASL" address to highlight the proud achievements of the Institute in the past six and a half decades as well as the role its various directors, staffs, and students have played, and continue to play, in the extensive academic, research, and outreach activities of the Institute. In recognition of her commitment to the Institute and her passion for her work in the past thirty-eight years, Ms. Maria D'Amico was presented with the Lifelong Dedicated Service Award amid a standing ovation.

Institute Director Professor Ram Jakhu and former Directors Professor Armand de Mestral and Professor Michael Milde.

After 65 years, the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law remains the world’s premier educational and research institution in the field of air law and space law. With the largest number of fellowships and prizes on offer to encourage students and professionals to engage in the study of air and space law at the masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral levels, to date over a thousand proud graduates of the Institute occupy recognised and senior positions in many government ministries, international organisations, airlines, the judiciary, and academia. In 1996, the Institute was decorated with the prestigious Edward Warner Award for its ground-breaking achievements and "unparalleled contributions to the development of international air law and to the examination of contemporary aviation issues”.

The education programme and research agenda of the Institute and its research arm, the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, have evolved over the years to keep in touch - often with creative foresight - with the new issues and challenges. The Centre has been prolific in publishing and disseminating peer-reviewed publications related to this rapidly developing field of law, including the renowned Annals of Air and Space Law. Further, the Institute and Centre have organised countless events and conferences around the world and been at the forefront of spearheading innovative projects, such as the Global Space Governance Study and most recent project to draft the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Activities in Outer Space.

Current and former students of the IASL family. All these achievements could not have been possible without the hard work and determination of the Institute’s dedicated staffs and students, the great generosity of the Institute’s donors and supporters, as well as the continual support of the Institute’s extensive network of alumni around the world. At 65, the Institute is entering a new future and will continue to fulfil its mission and vision of being the world’s foremost centre for research and education in the fields of air and space law.

More pictures can be seen under the News section.

Occasional Paper Series on Sustainable International Civil Aviation

In the run-up the 39th Triennial ICAO Assembly that was held 27 September to 7 October 2016 to address the matter of CO2  emissions from international aviation, researchers and academics at the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL) teamed up to publish a number of papers falling under the umbrella theme of Sustainable International Civil Aviation.

The research papers in this special Occasional Paper Series address various policy, legal and technical means and issues relating to the regulation of the impact of international aviation on the environment, and will form the core of a much anticipated book that will be published at a later date by Cambridge University Press. These papers aim to contribute to the growing interest and debates on the issue of the environmental impact and sustainability of civil aviation. It is hoped that these papers will contribute to the work of the Assembly and that informed readers and delegates participating at the ICAO Assembly will have constructive comments to share with the authors.

The full papers can be accessed and downloaded from the dedicated page on Sustainable International Civil Aviation.

Professor Ram Jakhu honoured with IAASS 2016 Leonardo da Vinci Award

Professor Ram Jakhu, the new Director of the Institute, received the Leonardo da Vinci Life-Long Achievement Award from the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS).

The Leonardo da Vinci Award honours distinguished individuals who advance space safety and the mission goals and core values of the IAASS. The award itself is a bronze plaque with the "Vitruvian Man", which is symbolism for recognising those space safety professionals who dedicate themselves to the truth and innovative discovery.

Professor Jakhu has been the Chairman of the IAASS Space Safety Legal and Regulatory Committee for nine years running, and he is the second person ever to receive this prestigeous award. He was recognised for his "lifelong passion for promoting knowledge centred on the value of care for the wellbeing of space explorers and travelers, and for the protection of the orbital environment". Further, the IAASS recognised Professor Jakhu's contributions in championing space safety and sustainability through space law and took note of his "oustanding research on regulatory aspects of space regulations".

In a letter congratulating Professor Jakhu, Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) Rosie Goldstein underlined the Leonardo Da Vinci Life-long Achievement Award is "a testimony to [his] accomplishments in the development and advancement of space law", and praised his work for reinforcing McGill University's position at the forefront of research and training.

Congratulations, Professor Jakhu!

May 2016 - McGill University Officially Launches the MILAMOS Project

Professor Ram Jakhu launching the MILAMOS Project in front of a group of around 80 conference participants from all over the world.  At the opening of the 4th Manfred Lachs Conference on Conflicts in Space and the Rule of Law, representatives from McGill University and partner institution the University of Adelaide officially launched the interdisciplinary and international project to draft the McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS).

This unique project, which to date enjoys the support of the Government of Canada, the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as support from a growing number of international experts, aims to draft a widely-accepted manual clarifying the rules applicable to the military use of outer space. These rules would clarify and regulate the range of activities that can be conducted in times of peace, as well as in periods of tension and armed conflict. The Project is  made possible with financial contributions from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Erin JC Arsenault Trust Fund at McGill University,  established to support initiatives and research into the peaceful uses of outer space and space governance.

The launch event was attended by over 80 people from all over the world. Underlining the importance and necessity of the MILAMOS Project were Dean Jutras welcoming participants and speaking about the contributions of the Institute and Centre as a hub for research and teaching in air and space law. Professor Ram Jakhu, Chair of the MILAMOS Project Management Board, Dr Dale Stephens, Editor-in-Chief of the Project and Director of the University of Adelaide's Research Unit on Military Law and Ethics (RUMLAE), Professor Paul Dempsey, Director of the Institute of Air and Space Law and the Centre for the Research in Air and Space Law, the Dean of McGill Faculty of Law, Professor Daniel Jutras, and McGill University's Vice Principal (Research and Innovations), Dr. Rosie Goldstein.

The Institute and Centre have long been a recognised hub for teaching, critical thinking and research in the field of air and space law, and the MILAMOS Project demonstrates the innovation and strength of these institutions. The project aims to ensure, for the sake of the long-term sustainability and peaceful uses of outer space, that all activities are governed by the rule of law.

Dr. Rosie Goldstein, Vice Principal (Innovations and Research), speaks about how proud McGill is to spearhead the project to produce the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space. Dean Jutras expressed his support for the Institute and the Centre in spearheading the Project that will no doubt have great international influence on public policy-making and the legal regulation of affairs in outer space in years to come.  Dr. Goldstein made welcoming remarks, partly in French, and noted McGill University's pride in leading such a project.

Additionally, Dr David Kendall, the incoming Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, gave the Conference's Keynote Address and praised McGill and the University of Adelaide for their foresight in conceptualising and conceiving this groundbreaking and innovative project, particularly in the current geopolitical climate of "considerable distrust". Mr. Niklas Hedman, of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, spoke about how the Project will address security and sustainability issues that will be a focus of the upcoming UNISPACE+50 event in 2018.

Much of the discussions at the Conference related to issues that will form the challenging concepts and developments that the MILAMOS Project aims to grapple with. The discussions, contacts and fruitful exchanges facilitated at the Conference provided the international community with ideas and means to recognise the legal restraints on conflicts in outer space, to promote a stable, rules-based global order in outer space and to reduce the impetus towards an arms race and conflict in outer space.

The official press statement regarding the MILAMOS Project is available in both English and French, and more information about the MILAMOS Project can be accessed at the dedicated MILAMOS website.


IASL Association Annual Dinner 2016


On 18 April  2016, the Institute of Air and Space Law Association held its Annual Dinner at the McGill Faculty Club.

It was a festive event to induct students of the class of 2015-2016 into the Association and mark the achievements of outgoing Director Professor Paul Dempsey. The IASL alumni and people in attendance also took a moment to remember the contributions of Dr Nicolas Mateesco Matte, who passed away earlier in the week.

Professor Paul Dempsey, the outgoing Director of the Institute of Air and Space Law, and future Director Professor Ram Jakhu exchange hand shakes and smiles at this festive occasion. 

The members of the class of 2015-2016 were inducted into the Institute of Air and Space Law Association to become part of a growing family IASL graduates who are located all over the world.

More pictures can be seen here.


Ram Jakhu to head IASL for a year


The Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Ram Jakhu has been appointed Director of the Research Center and the Institute of Air and Space Law (IASL), for a one-year term that will begin on 1 June 2016, when the outgoing director, Professor Paul S. Dempsey, will be stepping down.

“Our colleagues Paul Dempsey and Ram Jakhu have carried the IASL to new heights, in a competitive environment in which we have seen other Air and Space Law centers and institutes emerge elsewhere in Europe and America. Through their hard work, the IASL now works closely with international organizations, including the United Nations, on a broad range of public policy, research and educational initiatives addressing the regulatory regime of aviation, and an optimal governance regime for outer space,” said Dean Daniel Jutras. “And we know how vibrant and loyal the IASL alumni community is, increasing the Institute’s visibility around the world.”


Congratulations, Md Tanveer Ahmad!

The IASL is pleased to announce that Md Tanveer Ahmad, LLM'10, successfully defended his doctoral thesis on 21 January 2016.

His thesis, which was written under the supervision of Professor Paul Dempsey, is titled “Toward governing emissions from aviation that contribute to climate change and global warming.” Bravo to our newest DCL!

Great news! Our books can now be purchased online!

We are pleased to announce that publications of the Centre for Research in Air and Space Law, including the latest volumes of the Annals of Air and Space Law, are now available for purchase online. In cooperation with the McGill Bookstore, these publications can be purchased and delivered to you promptly all with a few clicks of the button. 

Older volumes of the Annals will gradually also be made available for purchase online. Over the coming period, the website will also feature a searchable index for users to find and access individual articles based on the topic and/or name of the author. These developments will prove to be of great convenience to readers and researchers, so we hope you will make the most use of these new features.

To purchase our publications, visit our McGill Bookstore page.

Celebrating 60 years at the IASL

The Institute of Air and Space Law looks back on a rich history of over 60 years of education, public service and scholarship. Over 900 of its loyal graduates today serve in some of the highest legal positions; at the bar, in the industry; and for governmental and international agencies in some 120 nations around the world. Come and join us at the IASL!