1st Edition

The Space Law Stalemate Legal Mechanisms for Developing New Norms

By Anja Pečujlić Copyright 2023
    244 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    244 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The governing international space law regime has been locked in a norm-creation stalemate for over 40 years. This stalemate endangers the preservation of established, guiding legal principles, as well as the sustainability of the parts of outer space that humans utilize. The discrepancy between norm creation, technological advancement, and the ecosystem of novel actors could generate serious consequences for future space activities and the nature of international relations. Besides the return of old rivalries in a New Cold War, new activities and actors emerging amidst a legal void emphasizes the risks of the stalemate: unstable peace, fragile cooperation, uneven technological development, and uncertain eco-sustainability. The prolonged legal stalemate cannot be treated simply as an academic question, for it has broader political and economic implications of growing strategic relevance. Unresolved issues in international space law could threaten the survival of space as a global common, thus it is essential that the ability of the norm-creation mechanism of UN COPUOS is equipped to address the ongoing changes and provide for adequate global governance. This book evaluates the current legal state and sheds light on potential future prospects, offering an overview of the political context within which it developed, providing an assessment of the selected successful examples in international law, and analyzing lessons learned. It makes recommendations for how the UN COPUOS legal apparatus should be modified in order to ensure that future space activities are possible beyond anarchy, greed, and ecological irresponsibility, and to ensure that the principle of the peaceful uses of outer space remains the governing norm.




    1. Background

    2. Main challenges

    I Space law: historical and institutional background

    1. The Cold War

    1.1. United Nations: the prime body in international space norm creation

    1.2. UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS)

    2. Space treaties’ creation

    2.1. Space treaties

    II The current state of the space domain

    1. The rise of the private sector

    2. The problem of legal ambiguity

    3. New trends in regulating the space domain

    3.1. The Cape Town Convention

    3.2. Soft law

    3.3. National space legislation

    III The changing global context

    1. Geopolitical transformations

    1.1. The new space powers

    1.2. The emerging space nations

    2. Shift in the economic paradigm

    3. Technological development: from military to civilian use

    4. Multidirectional diplomacy

    5. The lawmaking process itself

    5.1. The norm-creation mechanism in the United Nations

    5.2. The norm-creation mechanism in the Legal Subcommittee of the UN COPUOS

    6. Conclusion

    IV Necessity of new internationally binding norms in space law

    1. Space activities outside of the current legal realm

    1.1. Active debris removal

    1.2. Resource utilization and extraction from celestial bodies

    1.3. Human planetary exploration

    2. Space actors outside of the current legal realm

    3. Why is the stalemate dangerous?

    4. State sovereignty in the area of globalization and interdependence

    5. A legal obligation to cooperate: mandatory multilateralism

    V Alternative ways of law-making

    1. UN specialized agencies

    1.1. International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

    1.1.1. Short history

    1.1.2. Purpose

    1.1.3. Membership

    1.1.4. Decision-making bodies

    1.1.5. Norm mechanisms: constituent instrument and secondary norms

    1.1.6. Implementation

    1.2. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

    1.2.1. Short history

    1.2.2. Purpose

    1.2.3. Membership

    1.2.4. Decision-making bodies

    1.2.5. Norm mechanisms: constituent instrument and secondary norms

    1.2.6. Implementation

    2. International legal regimes that deal with international commons

    2.1. The international legal regime for marine beyond national jurisdiction

    2.1.1. Short history

    2.1.2. Purpose

    2.1.3. Membership

    2.1.4. Decision-making bodies

    2.1.5. Norm mechanism: constituent instrument and secondary norms

    2.1.6. Implementation

    2.2. The international legal regime for the Antarctic area

    2.2.1. Short history

    2.2.2. Purpose

    2.2.3. Membership

    2.2.4. Decision-making bodies

    2.2.5. Norm mechanism: constituent instrument and secondary norms

    2.2.6. Implementation

    3. Regional space agencies

    3.1. European Space Agency (ESA)

    3.1.1. Short history

    3.1.2. Purpose

    3.1.3. Membership

    3.1.4. Decision-making bodies

    3.1.5. Norm mechanism: constituent instrument and secondary norm mechanism

    3.1.6 Implementation

    3.2. European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA)

    3.2.1. Short history

    3.2.2. Purpose

    3.2.3. Membership

    3.2.4. Decision-making bodies

    3.2.5. Norm mechanism: constituent instrument and secondary norm mechanism

    3.2.6. Implementation provisions

    VI Key findings and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats analysis

    1. Key findings

    1.1. Hierarchy of norms

    1.2. Decision-making organ

    1.3. Possibility to make amendments

    1.4. Voting mechanism

    1.5. Possibility to make reservations/to opt out

    2. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats analysis

    2.1. Strengths and opportunities

    2.2. Weaknesses and potential threats

    3. Proposed solutions


    A. Bibliography



    Anja Nakarada Pečujlić holds a doctoral degree in space law from the University of Cologne, Germany. After defending her thesis with honours, Anja joined a Bulgarian space start-up, EnduroSat, as a business developer, where she is in charge of strategic partnerships globally. Prior to that, from December 2017 until June 2020 she was the project manager for a European Space Agency (ESA)/Cologne University joint project: the ESA Convention Commentary. From 2014 to 2016, she was an external consultant of the European Space Policy Institute, Vienna, Austria. From 2009 until 2014 she studied at the school of law of the University of Vienna, where she specialised in international law with a focus on international space law. Subsequently, she continued to conduct space legal research, spoke at several international conferences, and published various articles in esteemed journals, chapters in books, and one edited book. Furthermore, she is the CEO and cofounder of the Serbian Case for Space Foundation in Belgrade, Serbia. This foundation was established in October 2017 with the aim to engage Serbia in the space domain.