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International Space Law and Policy


Course objectives
The course aims to provide students with knowledge of the field of international space law and policy and to explain its main principles, focusing on the UN space treaties, sets of principles and other international legal instruments, as well as the institutions involved. It will present the international law‐making process and its international actors, such as the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The course will also examine current challenges and activities, and the ability of existing international legal instruments to address them.


  • Legal Status of Space Objects and Astronauts • Peaceful Use of Outer Space • Militarization • Use of Nuclear Power Sources • Space Exploration • Space Resouces • (Small) Satellites • Telecommunications • International and Regional Cooperation in Space • Space stations • Responsibility and Liability for Space Objects • Jurisdiction and Control • Space Debris • Space Traffic Management • Contamination in Outer Space

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Name and describe the international legal instruments and actors governing space activities at the international level;

  • Identify and summarize the most important international space law principles;

  • List and explain current international space law issues and efforts to adress them;

  • Apply the relevant international space laws and policies;

  • Solve practical case studies related to international space law and policy;

International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL)
Law School, Leiden University
Steenschuur 25, 2311 ES Leiden, Netherlands
Postal address: P.O. Box 9520, 2300 RA Leiden, Netherlands
Phone : +31 71 527 8081

Methods of instruction
Lectures: This course consists of approximately 25 lectures
Required preparation: Students are required to read the applicable chapters from Introduction to Space Law.

The lecturers make extensive use of interactive teaching, thus encouraging the students to exercise their comprehension and understanding and their verbal techniques. The level of interaction is high and students are encouraged to reflect critically on the issues presented. Guest lecturers are invited to highlight specific topics and themes from various perspectives.

Course materials
Introduction to Space Law, T. Masson-Zwaan and M. Hofmann, Kluwer 2019 and handouts


  • For face-to-face students, the course is assessed by means of a written open book exam.

  • Blended learning students will follow the first two weeks of the course and will then work on assignments to be submitted via email. The course is successfully passed if an average of 6 among the assignments is obtained. No exam is required if a weighted average of 6 is obtained for the assignments.

Course requirements
Master degree in law