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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Outer Space Law and Policy (LAWS11478)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will explore the five main UN treaties relating to space (Outer Space 1967, Rescue Agreement 1968, Liability Convention 1972, Registration Agreement 1975 and Moon Agreement 1979) and their continuing relevance to recent developments in the field of space exploration and use. In addition, each seminar will address a specific development or challenge in regulating space such as human space flight, the peaceful uses of space, remote sensing, sustainable uses of space and space communications. It will also explore the interface between international law, regional initiatives and domestic law.
Course description The course will be delivered in ten seminars, which may include:

1. Sources of Space law and the Outer Space Treaty: where does space begin?
2. The Registration Convention
3. The Liability Convention: the challenge of commercial space flight
4. The Moon and Rescue Agreements ¿ from the dawn of human space flight to the International Space Station
5. Peaceful uses of outer spaces and military activity
6. Commercial exploitation of space: space mining
7. Sustainability and space debris
8. Space and remote sensing: applications and data ownership
9. Space communications
10. National and regional perspectives
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course is assessed by 1 component of assessment:

1) A 5,000 word essay to be chosen from a set selection covering the range of topics included in the course.

This essay will be worth 100% of the total mark for the course.
Feedback Feedback on the formative assessment may be provided in various formats, for example, to include written, oral, video, face-to-face, whole class, or individual. The course organiser will decide which format is most appropriate in relation to the nature of the assessment.

Feedback on both formative and summative in-course assessed work will be provided in time to be of use in subsequent assessments within the course.

Feedback on the summative assessment will be provided in written form via Learn, the University of Edinburgh's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of international law relating to space and its domestic implementation, as well as the actors at international, regional and national level engaged in its regulation.
  2. Discuss the inter-relationship between international and national law in the field; the impact of technological developments, particularly small satellites.
  3. Explain how private as well as public activity in the field is now being regulated.
Reading List
Masson-Zwaan and Hofmann, Introduction to Space Law (Wolters Kluwer, 2019);
Von der Dunk and Tronchetti, Handbook of Space Law (Elgar, 2015).

Specialist articles from Space Policy
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Research and Enquiry:
- The ability to identify relevant legal resources and develop a critical awareness of how ethical and technological challenges are being addressed against a background of finite resources and in a field where there is scope for activities that enhance human wellbeing but also threaten it.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy:
- Students will be encouraged to carry out their own research into the space capabilities of specific countries and to consider the position of those countries in relation to the development of international law and policy. Independent evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing international system faced with commercial space exploitation will also be encouraged.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Communication
- Students will explore key concepts and theories and, in particular, the role of international law in this area both orally in seminars and in writing on the forum and in reports and essays.

Graduate Attributes: Skills and abilities in Personal Effectiveness:
- Students will be required to explain and evaluate key principles, the effectiveness of existing law and regulation, and ongoing challenges through assigned readings. Clarity, focus and precision will in particular be an important. Students will be expected to work in small groups to prepare the formative national reports and to co-ordinate effectively with their peers.

Technical/practical skills:
- Students will gain an understanding of a specialised field of law, its terminology and academic literature. They will will also become familiar with the key UN and regional space agencies, as well as civil society organisations working in the field, including the diverse historical and policy resources available through these sites.
KeywordsLLM,Innovation,Technology,Law,Level 11,Postgraduate,Space,Outer Space,Space Law
Course organiserDr Rachael Craufurd-Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 2061
Course secretaryMiss Bethan Walters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386
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