• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Law, International Security
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Cassandra Steer
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Winter Session 2021
    See Future Offerings

We are at a key moment in history both nationally and internationally in terms of the expansion of in human activity in outer space and the legal and governance issues this brings with it. While many are not fully cognisant of it, our 21st century interactions and movements are already highly dependent upon outer space. This course provides a critical overview of the issues we face today and in the coming decades, with an emphasis on Australia's role in the global space sector, and our potential leadership in shaping international norms.


Our current international space governance regime is a product of the Cold War and the dawn of the space age, however today’s multi-polar geopolitical world no longer operates with those power relations. We are also entering an age of commerce-based space politics, disruptive technologies and disruptive business models, all of which puts pressures on domestic law-makers in the governance of space activities. Concerns such as environmental responsibility, equitable access to space-based technologies, the weaponisation, commercialisation and (de)colonisation of space, will all be covered. Students will be asked to reflect upon their role as planetary citizens, and on the need for a model of 21st century space governance that is ethically responsible.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Synthesise and review the international legal framework governing space activities.
  2. Interrogate and critique existing legal and governance responses to the problems of space debris and space traffic management
  3. Reflect critically on the legal ramifications of military and security activities in outer space
  4. Examine and appraise the domestic and international legal principles and rules applicable to Australian commercial space operators
  5. Contribute to legal and governance debates on access to space, colonisation or decolonisation of space, and democratisation of space
  6. Research and propose, in written or oral form, ways in which Australia can take a lead in solving one of the legal and/or governance issues discussed throughout the course

Indicative Assessment

  1. Collaborative problem solving exercise (15) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Contribution to online blog (3 x 700 word blog posts ) (25) [LO 1,4,5,6]
  3. Research paper (4,500 words) (choice of LO 2,3,4 or 5) (60) [LO 1,6]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (MLLM), OR Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law (CNTL); OR Master of Military Law (MMILL). You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS4340 Space Law and Governance.

Prescribed Texts

Prescribed texts will not be required. All materials will be provided online through a reading list.

Assumed Knowledge

It is assumed students will have some familiarity with international law.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4410
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4684 05 Jul 2021 06 Jul 2021 16 Jul 2021 03 Sep 2021 Online View

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