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European and Commercial Perspectives of Space 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 various commercial space applications and issues surrounding the regulation of commercial and ‘NewSpace’ activities, which are not clearly addressed in international space law. Some of the topics discussed are space resource utilization, satellite constellations, Earth Observation, human spaceflight and innovative applications of space technology. The associated legal issues are examined from the perspective of international, regional and national laws, as well as through practitioners’ and industrial practice, illustrated by examples and case studies. Contemporary developments, such as privacy and cybersecurity in space activities are also discussed.

The course focuses on steps undertaken by the United Nations and the international community to address these gaps, while several national space laws are analysed. The course also addresses topics of special relevance for Europe, such as the role and activities of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU), and the European space programme components, including Galileo, Copernicus, GOVSATCOM, and the role of the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSpace).

Course objectives

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

  • Give examples of commercial and ‘NewSpace’ activities and indicate the legal issues they raise.

  • Describe the efforts undertaken on national and international level to solve the issues raised by those activities.

  • List the main features of national space legislation and at the European level.

  • Explain the roles of ESA and the EU, and Europe’s role the space sector.

  • Apply the relevant space laws and policies and solve practical case studies.

  • Undertake an individual research project in the field of space 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 the lecturer.

Assessment method

This course is assessed by means of:

  • A presentation (50%); and

  • A paper (50%).

Blended learning students work on four assignments to be submitted via Brightspace. The course is successfully passed if an average of 6 among the assignments is obtained.

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 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


Currently these pages are being updated to reflect the courses for 2022 - 2023. Until these pages are fixed as per 1 September 2022 no rights can be claimed from the information which is currently contained within.
Should there be any future changes of the Covid 19 virus which may impinge our teaching and assessment, these could necessitate modification of the course descriptions after 1 September. This will only happen in the event of strict necessity and the interests of the students will be taken into account. Should there be a need for any change during the course, this will be informed to all students on a timely basis. Modifications after 1 September 2022 may only be done with the approval and consent of the Faculty Board and Programme Director.