Volume 10, Issue 10
We’ve all had our undies in a twist lately about whether corporate law is a benign necessity or the work of the devil. My carefully considered opinion on the matter is that corporate law can suck it, because I’ve just found a much better option for all of us.
Despite being the ‘number one law school in Australia’, MLS has truly failed us by not offering this certifiably dope subject. Luckily, I’m on exchange at McGill (Canada) this semester – the home of the Institute of Air and Space Law – and I’m writing home to answer all your questions.
a) Holly, what the fuck is space law?
Good question. I enrolled in this subject on the sole basis that it sounded sick, so tbh I didn’t really know either.
Space law is a body of national and international laws and customs that regulate human activities in outer space. Fun facts:
b) How is this even a thing?
When the decade long intercontinental thermonuclear dick waving contest (aka the Cold War) got going, someone wondered whether our existing laws would cover all the shit we were blasting into space. Unfortunately, because stuff in space refuses to stay still and follows orbits instead, the ordinary rules that linked sovereignty to overhead airspace wouldn’t work. So now we have space law, which takes into account the wonderful peculiarities of the space environment. Thanks, Russia!
Since then, five main treaties have been adopted by the UN General Assembly. These include things with cool names like the ‘Outer Space Treaty’ and the ‘Moon Agreement’.
c) But Holly, what if I’m really set on pursuing the capitalist agenda / sticking it to the man? How do I do that in outer space?
I have wonderful news for you, my friends. Everybody wins.
If rapid, mega-profit making is your jam, then jump on in, because anyone involved in the space industry in the next decade or two is going to find their way into the upper 0.00000001% of our new space-faring elite. You will be paid squillions to answer questions like: How do I get a licence to own and launch a spaceship? How will companies establish their own landing zones and exploit outer space resources without property rights? How do I get these cashed-up space tourists to sign waivers so that they don’t sue me after they inevitably receive enough cosmic radiation for a lifetime after a million-dollar, 2-minute sub-orbital jaunt?
If you’re more of a latte-sipping hipster commie, like myself, then never fear! You, too, can find yourself agonising over things like: What do we do about the legal loopholes that have already allowed 500,000 pieces of space debris to accumulate around the planet? Do we need to apply principles about precaution and biodiversity protection in space? Will I even get to see space on this poor-ass pro bono salary?
d) Sold. How do I become a space lawyer?
Unfortunately the space law job market is incredibly competitive, and there’s only really one group of students at MLS who will make it. I, for one, welcome our new #LizardPeopleofMLS overlords.
Holly Watson-Reeves is in her last year of the JD
The rest of this week's issue: