Keeping up with the neighbours? Reviewing national space laws to account for new technology: the Australian and Canadian experience

Steven R. Freeland, Ram S. Jakhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review


The development of space-related technology since the dawn of the space age in 1957 has given rise to many new and exciting possibilities. It has also meant that space activities continue to evolve, facilitating the participation of a variety of space 'actors' other than States. Given the international responsibility of States for 'national activities in outer space' under both customary international law and the Outer Space Treaty, there is an imperative for States to enact relevant and contemporary national space law to regulate those non-governmental space actors within their respective jurisdiction. But enacting national space law is not enough - as the paradigm of space-related technology changes and evolves, it is clear that such shifts require the ongoing review of appropriate national regulatory standards over relatively short timeframes. National legislatures have to come to grips with the everchanging range of space technology, particularly if they wish to become increasingly involved in space activities. Whatever rules are put in place during the review process must find the right balance between, on the one hand, the need for regulation of the economic and technical elements, so as to minimise the risks to an acceptable level, and the facilitation of research and innovation to allow for greater and more efficient access to space, and the potential for commercial returns, on the other. This paper will describe this process of review and rejuvenation of existing national space laws in both Australia and Canada, outlining the relevant factors that were taken into account in order to maximise the utility of the regulations to meet the specific goals and requirements within each country.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Institute of Space Law 2017
EditorsP. J. Blount, T. Masson-Zwaan, R. Moro-Aguilar, Kai-Uwe Schrogl
Place of PublicationNetherlands
PublisherEleven International Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9789462368781
ISBN (Print)9789462368781
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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