Space lawyers provide advice and prepare legal contracts and documentation to ensure compliance with Australian and international laws and treaties.
Space belongs to everyone, but there are rules about what we can do in space. There are a number of international and domestic treaties, rules and principles involved in conducting any activities in space. Space law encompasses things like space exploration, liability for damage, use of weapons, environmental responsibilities and information sharing. It overlaps with a number of other areas within law, such as intellectual property, environmental, criminal and commercial law.
The development of the commercial space sector has resulted in an increased need for lawyers who specialise in space law. Start-ups and bigger companies in the space industry need legal advice to ensure that their activities are compliant with relevant laws. Lawyers may also help them prepare contracts, applications for launch licenses and other documentation required as part of their business.
The minimum study requirement to work as a space lawyer is an undergraduate law degree.
Almost all universities in Australia offer degrees in law. Visit individual university websites for more information.
The following universities offer undergraduate study options specifically related to the space industry which may be relevant to a career in space law:
- Swinburne University's Space Technology minor, which is available to undergraduate students in any degree
Postgraduate degrees in law might also be relevant to becoming a space lawyer.
At the postgraduate level, the following course may be relevant to learning more about space law:
- The International Space University’s Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program, which forms the first part of the University of South Australia’s Graduate Certificate of Space Studies