Law, College of


Date of this Version



In Soft Law in Outer Space: The Function of Non-Binding Norms in International Space Law, Irmgard Marboe, ed., p. 31-56. Studien zu Politik und Verwaltung band 102. Vienna: Böhlau, 2012.


Copyright 2012, Böhlau. Used by permission.


Discusses the issue of 'soft law' in the context of space activities, the characteristics of 'law' and '(international) space law,' the role of 'law' per se in the context of space activities, the use of qualified language in legal documents (including clauses beginning with words like should or may).

It is finally submitted that, while never losing sight of the benefits of a clear and coherent legal framework probably still best reflected through a treaty regime, in the arena of space activities there is considerable benefit from such mechanisms usually labelled 'soft law', whether in the context of customary internationallaw or of treaty law. Indeed, they may in a number of occasions have an indispensable function in the development of a proper international space law framework for such activities. Whether one should continue to call them 'soft law', ultimately is ofless relevance.