Report: McGill Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (McGill 2022)

Source: McGill


Conflict in outer space is not inevitable. Yet, as the human costs and devastating consequences of the possible extension of an armed conflict to outer space cannot be discounted, there is an imperative 1 for all of us – the international community, academics and civil society – to do everything possible to ensure that outer space remains free from conflict and is explored and used in a safe, secure and sustainable manner, in accordance with the international rules-based order.

The McGill Manual is the product of the McGill-led project to draft the Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS Project). The MILAMOS Group of Experts arrived at consensus on key issues reflected in fifty-two Rules – which are set out in this McGill Manual covering a variety of international law subject matters particularly relevant to current and potential military uses of outer space. These are of critical importance to space activities conducted during peacetime and in time of tension that pose challenges to peace. This directed focus means that the scope of the McGill Manual does not extend to the law applicable during periods of armed conflict. Indeed, one of the purposes of the McGill Manual is to clearly set out the ways in which existing international law serves to restrain actions that might otherwise lead to the commencement of an armed conflict.

The McGill Manual is intended to support efforts to strengthen the safe, secure, and sustainable use of outer space by clarifying the international law applicable to military space activities. The Rules of the McGill Manual are the result of meticulous and rigorous efforts and consultations among a group of highly-qualified experts from around the globe, with both military and civilian backgrounds. These experts are well-recognised professionals, academics and publicists in various domains of international law, in particular international space law and international telecommunication law, as well as experts in space science and technology. The Rules reflect their understanding of the law as it existed at the time of this publication.