Volume II / III of the CoCoSL presented at the United Nations (UNCOPUOS)

On the occasion of the 52nd and 54th Legal Subcommittee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Volume II and Volume III of the Cologne Commentary on Space Law were presented to the public. The Commentary is the result of a project jointly undertaken by the DLR and the Institute of Air and Space Law, University of Cologne.

Every year delegates from more than 70 States, international organizations and non-governmental organizations gather at the United Nations in Vienna for the Legal Subcommittee, which deals with legal questions arising from the peaceful uses of Outer Space and the development of space law.

On 9 April 2013, on the occasion of a reception of the German delegation in the Vienna International Centre, the Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, Vienna, Ambassador Konrad Max Scharinger, presented the second Volume of CoCoSL as a German contribution under the item “Capacity Building in Space Law”. With this publication, a comprehensive commentary on the five UN space law treaties, namely the Outer Space Treaty (Volume I), the Rescue Agreement, the Liability Convention, the Registration Convention and the Moon Agreement (all Volume II) has been completed.

Ambassador Scharinger and the editors present Volume II.

Two years later, on 22 April 2015 the presentation of the third and final volume of CoCoSL took place at the residence of the German Ambassador Konrad MaxScharinger. The reception was held, not only on the occasion of the publication of Volume III, but also as 2015 marked the second year of the Chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Schrogl, a co-editor of CoCoSL. The third volume encompasses seven UN Resolutions relaing to outer space (the Direct Broadcasting Principles, the Remote Sensing Principles, the Nuclear Power Sources Principles, the Space Benefits Declaration, the Launching State Resolution, the Registration Practice Resolution and the National Space Legislation Resolution) and the COPUOS Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines, as endorsed by the General Assembly.

The Cologne Commentary is the result of a cooperation between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Institute of Air and Space Law, University of Cologne. It is the latest of a number of jurisprudential projects jointly undertaken by both institutions. The joint project promoted the exchange of expertise between the legal experts of different national Space Agencies, ESA, and specialized international organizations, thereby facilitating an exchange of doctoral students. The editors of the Cologne Commentary on Space Law are Prof. Dr. Stephan Hobe (Institute of Air and Space Law, University of Cologne), Dr. Bernhard Schmidt-Tedd (DLR Space Administration) and Prof. Dr. Kai-Uwe Schrogl (European Space Agency).

According to Dr. Bernhard Schmidt-Tedd, Head of the Legal Support, DLR Space Administration, “the comprehensive and consistent commentary on the existing space law shall ensure its uniform interpretation and application.” It is addressed in particular to practitioners in industry, politics and administration who face space law related issues.

The three Volumes, with over 1300 pages of commentary, are the achievement of 44 participating authors from 20 countries over the last eight years. Three generations of space lawyers and technicians – driven by a spirit of consensus – undertook to preserve the substance of more than five decades of space law making under the auspices of the United Nations. The editors were privileged to involve key players from the early phase of the Treaties. Those were involved in debates about the development of individual resolutions. Some of the great space lawyers have passed away in the meantime. What still remains is the invaluable merit that three generations contributed to the CoCoSL project, exchanged views and experience and thus accomplished their personal commitment to capacity building in space law.