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Private Air Law


Admission requirements

Admission to the full time and parttime Blended Learning advanced LL.M. programme in Air and Space Law.


The course aims to provide students with knowledge of the regime on the liability of the air carrier in cases of bodily injury or death, for the compensation of damages incurred by passengers and shippers of cargo, including damage caused by delay. To this end, the course studies the application of private international air law conventions, namely the Montreal Convention (1999) and Warsaw Convention (1929), and their jurisdiction over claims arising on an international contract of carriage by air.

Other topics that are covered pertain to third party liability for compensation of damages caused to third parties on the ground, rights and securities in aircraft and the liability of air traffic controllers, aircraft manufacturers and operators of airports. Recent developments in the area of air passenger protection regulations, with special attention to those of the EU, will also be studied. Each topic will be illustrated by relevant court decisions.

Course objectives

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

  • Define the fundamental principles of private international air law.

  • Explain the rules and their applicability for liability as addressed under private air law.

  • Identify the legal issues pertaining to private air law matters and the most important case law and come with analyses and possible ways of addressing these issues.

  • Apply private air law instruments and case law at the international and EU level.

  • Solve practical case studies.

  • Undertake an individual research project in the area of private air law.


Students can view the timetable in Brightspace. Participation in the online classes is optional for Blended Leaners.

Mode of Instruction

This course has been divided into several different modules, each of which covers a specific theme. Each module provides students with theoretical knowledge through assigned reading materials and multimedia knowledge clips. Students are responsible for coming to classes prepared, which in turn provides for elevated levels of discussion in classroom sessions.

The lecturers make extensive use of interactive teaching, thus encouraging the students to test their comprehension of the subject matter and to exercise their techniques for effective verbal communication. The level of interaction is high, and students are encouraged to reflect critically on the issues presented. Guest lecturers and expert practitioners are invited to highlight topical and emerging topics and themes from various perspectives.

Attendance at all lectures and on excursions is mandatory; any absence must be reported to the Programme Coordinator and to the lecturer.

Assessment method

This course is assessed by means of:

  • a Presentation (20%);

  • a Paper (30%); and

  • an Exam (50%).

Blended learning students will work on four assignments and one final paper, to be submitted via Brightspace.

The course is successfully passed if a weighted average grade for the course is obtained of 6.0 or higher. 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.

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.

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.

Reading list

Introduction to Air Law by prof. Mendes de Leon (2017), articles and suggested reading materials.


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 2021.

Due to the uncertainty of COVID-19 after 1 September 2021, 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 2021 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board.