'Jurisdiction and control' over space products in the age of moon and mars settlement an analysis from a private law perspective

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Settlement to the Moon and the Mars would entail prevalence of transactions among settlers and/or service providers based on the Earth or other celestial bodies. While business transactions on the Earth hinge on proprietary rights over assets, effects of which usually depend on lex situs, in the current international space law, the unique legal principles apply not only to the appropriation of celestial bodies (Article II, the Outer Space Treaty (OST)) but also to the ownerships of objects launched into outer space (Article VIII OST). This paper aims to examine how the idea that responsible States should have 'jurisdiction and control' over human-made products in space would affect future possible transactions in the course of settlement from a private law perspective, taking into consideration the methodologies of private international laws. Particular attention will be paid to the Building Blocks for the Development of an International Framework on Space Resources Activities adopted by the Hague International Space Resources Governance Working Group on 12 November 2019 since the Building Blocks is the only and most recent instrument addressing in situ activities in outer space. Firstly, rationales for the lex situs rule and possible exceptions to the rule are considered. Bearing in mind the rationales and possible flexibility, the application of private laws in the process of settlement are examined. The process is hypothetically divided into three stages: (i) preparation mainly from the Earth, (ii) construction to build facilities on celestial bodies, and (iii) settling down. Analysis leads to the conclusion that the unilateral approach following the allocation of jurisdiction would work till the stage (ii), that the recourse to the general conflict-of-laws approach would be necessary beyond that, and that appropriateness of solutions on property rights would depend on soundness of international regimes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event71st International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Oct 12 2020Oct 14 2020


  • Jurisdiction
  • Lex situs rule
  • Non-appropriation principle
  • Private international law
  • Property right

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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