Skip to main content

A Litigator’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Look at the Pragmatic Questions for Adjudicating Future Outer Space Disputes

Posted by on Friday, April 9, 2021 in Articles, Volume 23, Volume 23, Issue 1.

Michael J. Listner & Joshua T. Smith | 23 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. 53 (2021)

Since the beginnings of the space age, outer space activities have been the realm of government with ancillary involvement by non-governmental actors. The international legal framework for outer space contemplated the involvement of non-governmental actors, but in creating dispute resolution mechanisms the role of non-governmental entities was not considered ripe. The surge of direct non-governmental involvement in outer space activities in recent years again raises the issue of dispute resolution and exemplifies the lack of dispute resolution mechanisms designed to address differences between sovereign states. As the pace of non-governmental activity increases, so does the likelihood of disputes arising between non-governmental actors and therefore the need for a forum to address grievances. The US federal court system stands as a judicial institution that is capable of addressing the future needs of non-governmental litigants whose disputes reach into the sovereign-less regions of outer space.

PDF Download Link


Michael J. Listner

Joshua T. Smith