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Aerospace Law


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of International Law and a sufficient command of English.


The Aerospace Law course offers an introduction into public air law, private air law and space law, from both an international and European perspective. The public air law lectures deal with the governance of international civil aviation, including the economic regulation of air services, through multilateral and bilateral aviation agreements. You will study the Chicago Convention of 1944, and the responsibilities of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for promoting safety, security and the protection of the environment. Within the context of private air law, airline liability and passenger rights will be addressed. The space law lectures will introduce the main legal instruments in the field of space law. The course covers the legal aspects of various space activities, such as human space flight, the use of small satellites and space debris.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course:

  • To provide an overview of the main legal instruments and issues in the fields of public air law, private air law and space law;

  • To explain how international civil aviation is regulated;

  • To learn how to apply the key principles of airline liability;

  • To study legal issues in relation to space activities and the use of outer space.

Achievement levels:

After this course students can:

  • understand basic principles in the field of air and space law;

  • discuss the international legal framework of air and space law;

  • apply the principle international legal instruments in air and space law;

  • recognize and address legal issues pertaining to air law and space law.


See timetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: One 2-hour class per week for 12 weeks

  • Names of lecturers: Prof. S.J. Truxal, Prof. Dr. P.M.J. Mendes de Leon, Mrs. Drs. T.L. Masson-Zwaan, Dhr. T.N. Buissing, Ms. D. Stefoudi, Ms. J. Choi

  • Guest Lecturers: Mr. G. de Vos (AKD)

  • Required preparation by students: reading designated chapters from the Reader Aerospace Law

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Open book exam with open questions.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The reader and the subjects taught in the lectures, and all other instructions and information provided during the course.

Reading list

Required reading:

  • Reader Aerospace Law

  • Incidental additional handouts

Recommended reading:

  • P.M.J. Mendes de Leon, An Introduction to Air Law (Kluwer, 10th ed., 2017)

  • T. Masson-Zwaan & M. Hofmann, Introduction to Space Law (Kluwer 4th ed., 2019)


Students have to register for the lectures and working groups through uSis. With this registration you have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace. You may register up to 5 calendar days before the first teaching session begins.

Students have to register for exams and retakes through uSis. With this registration you also have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace You may register up to 10 calendar days before the exam or retake.

Exchange students have priority and will be registered for the course first. Any remaining seats will be available for students from Leiden University and other Dutch Universities.

Contact information


  • Institute: Public Law

  • Department: Institute of Air & Space Law

  • Room number secretariat: KOG, room B4.37

  • Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9:00-17:00

  • Telephone number secretariat: +31 (0)71 527 8081

  • E-mail:


Graduated professionals may attend this course as a Study Abroad student or as Contract student and apply via JPAO.