Someone once said that space was the final frontier, a line that's now just another cliché. And yet the starry skies of the universe are prime territory for a whole new realm of law.
A recent lecture at Miami Law addressed the seemingly endless possibilities of so-called Outer Space Law. Two experts on the subject, Rafael Moro Aguilar and Sylvia Ospina, spoke at the invitation of the office of the International Graduate Law Programs and the International Law Society. Ospina discussed sovereign rights over air space, the origins of space law, the five United Nations Outer Space Treaties, and the International Telecommunication Union, while Aguilar addressed space tourism, space debris, and the legal regime of the International Space Station.
As a licensed pilot, Miami Law professor Elizabeth Iglesias likes to do some airborne exploring of her own. "Space may not be the final frontier, but the launch of Outer Space Law at Miami Law is certainly an exciting and timely initiative," she said. "Miami Law is particularly well poised to lead the way in preparing lawyers to design the new legal regimes these technological trajectories will necessitate and inspire. I would love to see a Space and Aviation Law Center established at the law school, particularly given the superb resources we already have and can easily attract to our university."
Albert V. Medina, 3L, president of the International Law Society, a student organization, said he hoped the lecture would generate interest in space law across the student body. "Sylvia Ospina initially informed me that she wanted to successfully reintroduce the topic of space law, an area which she taught at Miami Law several years ago, back into the Miami Law curriculum via today's event," Medina said. "I am strongly of the opinion that we were able to do just that. It's such a fascinating field. The opportunities are out of this world."
"One of the objectives of the International Law Lecture Series is to bring emerging topics to our legal community," said I.G.L.P. Director Jessica Carvalho Morris. "Sylvia and Rafael's space-law talk met this goal by expanding our horizons with this fascinating topic."
"I knew nothing about space law before this event," third-year law student Erin Lewis said. "The information was interesting, especially the topics of space tourism and the environmental impacts of space debris."
Sylvia Ospina received her J.D. degree from New York Law School and her LL.M. from McGill University's Institute of Air and Space Law in Montreal. She has served as an expert for international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Telecommunication Union. Rafael Moro Aguilar received his J.D. from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and his LL.M. from the University of Michigan. He works as the head of legal affairs at Orbspace Engineering, a leading European aerospace firm.
For more information about the International Law Lecture Series, including videos of past lectures, please click here.
From left, Prof. Elizabeth Iglesias, Sylvia Ospina and Prof. Madeleine Plasencia. (Photo: Jessica Giraldo/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo
International Law Lecture Series 2013: Launch of Outer Space Law.