Guest Post by Abhimanyu George Jain
The Indian Journal of International Economic Law (IJIEL) is a student-run, peer-reviewed journal produced by the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore. Its mandate is deliberately ambitious – a developing country perspective on international economic law (IEL), both public and private.
The Medusa-esque mushrooming of IEL has meant that it is increasingly becoming a challenge just to keep track of where all IEL might apply. One such largely untouched area is space law. This interface raises many fascinating questions.
Is the ‘common benefit’ umbrella that pervades space law meant to be given practical effect, and if so, how? How will choice of law regimes, intellectual property rights, antitrust rules apply to private space activities? How do we divide property in space? How do we control the space tourism industry?
These and other interesting questions are complicated by two factors. The first is the increasing commercialisation of space activity, creating serious doubts regarding the suitability of a legal regime which could scarcely have foreseen such activity. The second is the international nature of modern space activity, necessitated by the expense of space operations. Whose rules will govern what parts of the space operation?
The IJIEL special issue on space law and IEL provides what we believe is a first of its kind perspective on some of these questions. We believe this endeavour is unique because it represents possibly the first attempt to subject questions of space law to analysis from the IEL viewpoint.
Many of the questions raised above have been taken up in this issue. So, for instance, Valnora Leister examines the issue of division of the benefits of space exploration within a theoretical perspective of ‘commons utilisation’. Jason R. Bonin and Fabio Tronchetti take on the controversial issue of exploitation and appropriation of lunar and celestial resources. Watcharachai Jirajindakul and Lalin Kovudhikulrungsri apply GATS to a major financial transaction involving space assets (the take over of the Thai Shin Corporation by the Singaporean Temasek Holdings). Lotta Viikari examines the regime for space liability drawing on parallels with the nuclear liability regime for the need, nature and model of regulation. Finally, Bin Li and Haifeng Zhao apply a WTO law perspective to the Chinese legal regime for controlling commercial space activity. At the outset, Stephan Hobe’s foreword sets out the nature of legal problems commercial space activity is likely to face in the foreseeable future.
IJIEL is distributing this issue free on the internet to facilitate access and visibility. We’d be grateful for your help in ensuring the widest possible circulation of this issue. Questions regarding IJIEL, submissions and subscriptions may be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.