Extraterritorial Criminal Jurisdiction and the Laws of Outer Space

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


What is the law of extraterritoriality in outer space? On Earth, judicial adjudication on exercises of extraterritoriality sets the stage for a broader debate as to the appropriate place of national courts in global governance and as to the place of international law in national courts. For this reason, the regulation of extraterritorial jurisdiction has significant implications for the rule of law and international relations. However, what criminal law and constitutionalism is to guide the interactions of individuals in outer space? The confluence of space tourism, space exploration, private commercial interests, and the weaponisation and militarization of space means there will be new types of relationships occurring between individuals in space who are not necessarily representatives of any particular State. In that context, this article considers the law of criminal jurisdiction in space and challenges posed. In sum, I suggest that there is currently a distinction between criminal acts that might occur on a space craft and those that might occur elsewhere. I tentatively argue for the continued applicability of current jurisdictional principles at customary international law into space rather than the development of a specialist regime – for now. I also argue that despite a number of challenges, domestic courts remain, to date, an adequate forum for adjudication of criminal conduct in outer space.
Period9 Aug 2019
Event titleTechnology and Jurisdiction in Outer Space and Cyberspace Colloquium
Event typeConference
LocationGold Coast, AustraliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational