ECSL Charter (English)
The European Centre for Space Law (ECSL) Charter
(as amended by the General Assembly held on 15 June 2001, on 20 June 2005,on 29 June 2007 and 23 October 2009)
Considering the growth of space activities has led to an increase of texts or practices, relevant to them at national and international levels, which has rendered identification of an access to documentation of relevance to space law increasingly difficult,
Considering the multidisciplinary character of space law, which includes both the rules related to access to and use of outer space and the means for organising and executing space-related activities on Earth, rules of private and public character,
Considering the steady enlargement of the space user community (as developers users, operators) and its needs,
Recognising the European Space Agency's (ESA) role, pursuant to its Convention, to facilitate the exchange of scientific and technical information pertaining to the fields of space research and technology and their space applications,
Considering the European Space Agency's initiative in proposing the establishment of a European Centre for Space Law,
Considering that establishment of such a Centre will improve the state of space-law research and knowledge in Europe, for the benefit of academics, students, practitioners, and will also improve the image of ESA,
The participants in this initiative and the Director General agree on the following objectives and mechanisms:
ARTICLE 1. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE CENTRE
1. A European Centre for Space Law, hereinafter referred to as "the Centre", is hereby established. The Centre will function in close liaison with the European Space Agency (ESA), represented by a staff member nominated by the Director General on the basis of his/her qualification in international law and space law.
2. The Centre's main administrative unit will be in principle located at ESA Headquarters, 8-10 rue Mario Nikis, 75738 Paris Cedex 15, France.
3. Membership of the Centre is open to natural and legal persons from ESA Member States, Associate States , and other European States having concluded a co-operation Agreement with ESA and who are interested in the development of space law and who accept this Charter. For instance, members may be: European Institutes and other academic bodies, individual academics, and members of European national administrations and space organisations; ESA itself and its staff, other European international institutions, or persons therefrom; persons from European private-sector organisations and European law firms; and private individuals from ESA Member States, European co-operating States and Associate Members. Where an applicant does not fulfil the terms of the present paragraph, membership may nevertheless exceptionally be granted to that person by the Board specified in Article 5, below.
4. The procedure for registration as a member of the Centre will be by application to the Centre, at the invitation of the ECSL secretariat, in conformity with the terms of the present Article. The Board shall review membership every year.
5. Members of the Centre shall contribute to its functioning by paying a yearly membership fee. The amount of such fee shall be determined by the General Meeting, upon proposal of the Board. The Board may recommend that certain categories will pay a reduced amount or be exempted. Payments shall be received by the Secretariat. The authority to administer these funds is vested with the Board, which will take into account of the ESA’s relevant financial regulations.
ARTICLE 2. PURPOSES
The main purposes of the Centre are in particular:
1. To exploit and complement the efforts made and the resources available in Europe in the field of space-law research and further to develop those efforts and resources, including documentation, in a co-ordinated manner;
2. To promote knowledge of and interest in the law relating to space activities through the promotion of research activities, including the dissemination of information and the organisation of workshops;
3. To provide for exchanges, including through the organisation of colloquia and other meetings, of information and ideas across disciplinary and national lines with the aim of improving both the technical understanding of those concerned with space-law research and the legal understanding of those concerned with the production, use and operation of space technologies;
4. Within each ESA Member State, ESA cooperating States and Associate members, ECSL members form a National Section. The organisation of each National Section shall be for its Members to decide within the spirit of the ECSL Charter. ECSL National Points of Contact (NPOCs) are the reference point of the ECSL at national level. An NPOC is nominated by the members of the relevant National Section and approved by the ECSL board. It serves as interface with the main administrative unit and other NPOCs in the implementation of the Charter objectives;
5. To identify themes related to space law in which university research and training at degree, doctoral and post-doctoral level should be encouraged;
6. To identify areas of space-related activity in which regulation is appropriate, and to discuss and propose principles and draft norms which may then be promoted at national or European level; and
7. To promote the establishment and development of national centres for space law research and to assist them by providing them with access to research resources throughout Europe, and by giving them technical and other advice. Other objectives may be agreed by the Board, subject to later confirmation by the General Assembly.
ARTICLE 3. RESOURCES AND SERVICES
A. The Centre will benefit from:
1. Human resources, in particular the availability of ESA staff active in legal, contractual and policy areas ; of fellows placed at the Centre's disposal by the members; and of students and volunteers;
2. Office space and equipment, as well as institutional and technological (especially computer network) support, which will be provided by ESA (Headquarters and its other establishments). However other national entities may be called to provide complementary resources.
B. The Centre, will offer the following services (this list being non-exhaustive):
1. An up-to-date on-line database of space law materials available in the ESA Member States, co-operating States and Associate Members, as well as an inventory on space law research in Europe, including a list of theses and research work;
2. A breakdown of the state of space-law teaching in Europe;
3. Access to and use of the ESA Information Retrieval Service (IRS) system, including for electronic mail purposes, under conditions in force at ESA.
4. Access to the library at ESA HQ (as well to the libraries at ESTEC, ESOC and ESRIN), under the conditions for access and use that are ordinarily applied for persons under Member States jurisdiction;
5. Organisational support for research meetings and workshops and the provision of inputs for the themes to be discussed by such gatherings;
6. Production and circulation of a bulletin on space law research in Europe and on the Centre's activities, as well as other informational matter related to space law and European space organisations.
7. Other services as defined and agreed by the Board (Practitioners’ Forum, Moot Court competition, publication of books).
ARTICLE 4. ASSISTANCE TO THE CENTRE
1. The members of the Centre undertake to keep the Centre informed of their activities related to space law (for example, courses on space law, theses, conferences, case law) and on their resources (for example, electronic databases), as well as to provide the Centre with information for distribution to other ECSL members.
2. The members of the Centre will use their best efforts to: provide the Centre with fellows supported financially by members and with volunteers, so as to reinforce the Secretariat of the Centre; to participate in workshops concerned with matters affecting their specialist areas; and to offer exchange arrangements for receiving students and researchers in their institutions.
ARTICLE 5. ORGANS
1. The organs of the Centre will be the General Meeting of members, the Board and the Secretariat.
2. The Board will be composed of persons, not more than 10, elected by the General Meeting of members for a period of three years, from the different categories of the Centre's members (academics, practitioners, the Centre's operators, representatives from national administrations and agencies and from industry, as well as students). The Board's functions will be to oversee and assist in the running of the Centre, to propose themes for research and workshops, to select among applicants for the award of grants offered by the members and ESA, and to take other steps necessary to achieve the aims of the Centre as set out in Article 2 above. The Board shall elect among its members its chairman and one or two vice-chairmen by a majority vote of all its members. The ESA representative (article 1.1) will automatically be member of the Board and will liaise with the ESA administration.
3. The Board will meet at least twice a year in principle at the ESA headquarters or at any other place as decided by the Board. Members of the Board will support their own expenses. The Secretariat of the Centre will be assured by a person selected by an ad hoc committee and will hierarchically be placed under the ESA representative.
4. 4. A General Meeting of members will be convened by the Chairman of the Board in principle every three years, to which the Board will present its report. The General Meeting will examine the orientation of the Centre's activities and questions related to the future of the Centre, it will elect the members of the Board. A General Meeting may be convened by the Chairman of the Board at the request of one third of the members to deal with exceptional matters.
5. The Board may confer on former chairmen the title of Honorary President of the Centre.
ARTICLE 6. FINANCE, BURSARIES AND TRAINING
1. The running costs of the Centre's main administrative unit will be borne by ESA. Members of the Centre are invited to contribute to these costs through donations.
2. ESA, with contributions also from ECSL members, will offer a one-year bursary annually to young lawyers performing space-law-related short periods of research in Europe. The themes of this research will be recommended by the Centre's Board to the General Assembly for approval. ESA and other entities active in the political and legal domains will use their best efforts to receive students from ECSL members for internship training. It is expected that national space agencies will also offer such bursaries training. These offers will be co-ordinated by the Centre.
3. The Centre's budget will be administered according to the ESA financial regulations as appropriate. All monies received from members or other persons shall be held on trust by the ESA Director General for achievement of the purposes of the Centre as determined in the present Charter. Such monies may, inter alia, be used in exercise of this trust to organise workshops, colloquia and other meetings, and to produce publications. The accounts relative to such expenditure shall be verified in accordance with the auditing procedures laid down pursuant to the ESA Financial Regulations and will be submitted to the Board for approval.
ARTICLE 7. EXTERNAL REGULATIONS
The Centre shall promote relations with other bodies and institutions in Europe, and outside Europe, having similar objectives.
ARTICLE 8. AMENDMENTS
The present Charter may be amended at the Board's proposal. Amendments will be adopted by the General Meeting of members on a two-thirds majority vote of those members present and voting and in conformity with ESA regulations and adopt, as the case may be, working arrangements with them.
ARTICLE 9. COMMENCEMENT OF ACTIVITIES
The Centre will formally commence its operations on 12 May 1989.
Version as amended, 23 October 2009.
Last update: 4 January 2010