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International Space Law and Policy


Admission requirements

Admission to the fulltime face-to-face Advanced LL.M. programme in Air and Space Law.


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). Alongside the space treaties, the course will also focus on telecommunication law and will examine current challenges and activities, as well as the ability of existing international legal instruments to address them.

Through several case studies specific topics will be studied in depth and from various angles, mainly legal and political, but also economic and technical, with the goal of providing an in-depth understanding of complex topics through interactive activities. Case studies may be conducted in various formats, such as group assignments, workshops, excursions and model activities. Active participation by the students and the multidisciplinary approach provided by the guest lectures are key features of these activities.

Course Objectives

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.


Students can view the timetable in Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

This course has been divided in a number of modules that cover a certain theme. Each module provides students with theoretical knowledge through reading materials and knowledge clips, and other suggested sources. Students are ultimately responsible for coming to classes prepared, which will elevate the classroom session.

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 and practitioners are invited to highlight specific topics and themes from various perspectives.

Attendance at all lectures and excursions is mandatory: any absence must always be reported to the Programme Coordinator.

Assessment method

The course is assessed by means of a written open book exam (80%) and written assignment (20%).

Only one retake may be granted to a student per course. No retake will be granted to a student who has obtained a weighted average grade for the course of 6.0 or higher, cf Article 12.2 Course and Examination Regulations. No retake will be allowed if a student has not taken the scheduled exam, or any other scheduled form of assessment, and handed in written proof of a conscientious effort to meet the deadline. This is without prejudice to justified reasons of health, family or any other force majeure that could prevent the student from attending class or from participating in the assessment, cf. Article 12.3. The grade obtained in the retake assessment will replace the grade of the failed assessment and will be included in the weighting of the grade for the course.

Assessment components for which only a pass or fail can be obtained, must be successfully completed by the student to pass the course. If a student fails an assessment component that is part of an activity that cannot be retaken, the form of the retake will be up to the discretion of the relevant lecturer, cf. Article 12.1.

Reading list

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


Students will be registered automatically for the course in uSis and Brightspace.


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


Disclaimer: This course has been updated to the best of our knowledge at the current time of publishing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fluctuating changes in lockdown regulations, all information contained within this course description is subject to change up to 1 September 2020.

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 after 1 September 2020, changes to the course description can only be made in the event of strict necessity and only in the circumstances where they do not impinge the interests of the students. Should there be a need for any change during the duration of the course, this will be informed to all students on a timely basis and will not be to the prejudice of students. Modifications after 1 September 2020 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board.