The Antarctic Treaty System (1959)

The Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities

In our research on Space Law and resources, it is interesting in this new Space Legal Issues article to have a look at the (failed) Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities.

Are there laws in Antarctica?

The retained image of Antarctic maps is often that of a camembert or a cake with more or less large parts that represent spaces attached/owned by States. It is based on territorial claims made by seven States (Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Norway, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom). Are there laws in Antarctica?

The most isolated villages on Earth

On Earth, there are villages so isolated that their inhabitants are forced to live without any connection with the outside world. These examples illustrate the difficulties that will encounter a human colony installed on the Moon or on Mars. In fact, according to NASA, temperatures on Mars at low altitude are similar to those in Antarctica.

From Antarctic tourism to Moon tourism

Humanity has always wanted to conquer more and more territory. Deserts, islands, tropical forests any area that seemed liveable, have been occupied by men. On Earth, Antarctica was one of the last places that remained untouched, but step-by-step, men are colonising this land of ice. The Moon is another current challenge for the more adventurous men. Antarctica and the Moon have a lot more in common.

The Te Awa Tupua Bill

As part of our research on Space Law and Public International Law, let’s look at New Zealand’s Te Awa Tupua Bill. In March 2017, the Whanganui River became the first river in the world to be legally recognised as a living entity. The river, of a special and spiritual importance for the Māori people, was granted the same rights as a human being.

The lawfulness of mining activities in Antarctica

Today, as many private companies are aiming at exploiting outer space’s resources, and as even more specialists of space law – or corpus juris spatialis – are debating about the lawfulness of the exploitation of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, let’s focus on Antarctica and the legal aspects of mining in Antarctica.

The difference between Public and Private International Law

International law, which consists of two branches: public international law and private international law, is the set of legal rules that govern relations between states (and international organizations) or between private persons in an international context.

Planetary protection

As humanity first began to send Earth-made space objects into outer space, scientific got concerned about the possibility/risk of forever changing the extraterrestrial environments visited. Planetary protection is a set of policies and practices designed to prevent the contamination of celestial bodies by terrestrial microorganisms.

The legal status of Antarctica

There are many legal similarities between the status of Antarctica and that of the Moon. Antarctica is a de facto condominium, like the ISS, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. For this article, let’s focus on a general presentation of Antarctica’s legal status.