Third Symposium on Critical Issues in Aviation Law

September 21, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Posted in Aviation Law, Blogcast | Leave a comment

by P.J. Blount with the blog faculty

The Third Symposium on Critical Issues in Aviation Law,, hosted by the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law was held today at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Welcoming remarks were given by Dean Richard Gershon, Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Law and Prof. Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, Director of the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law. Prof. Jacquie Serrao, Associate Director of the National Center for Remote Sensing, Air, and Space Law, moderated the panel.

The first speaker was Prof. Michael Milde, Former Director of the Legal Bureau, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Emeritus Director McGill University, Institute of Air and Space Law. His comments focused on International Law and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). He stated that international law was “what states want it to be.” He said that international law was the lowest common denominator that States can agree on. Next, he moved on to general comments on ICAO and its history, and stated that ICAO was a an international organization that focused on technical standards, but that this did not keep it from being a political organization. He stated that ICAO has 63 years of experience working on these standards. Specifically, he pointed to the technical annexes of the Chicago Convention and those technical annexes often involved political considerations even when they were intended to be strictly technical instruments. He then discussed the basics of membership in ICAO and the organizational structure if the organization. He then gave several examples and cases of how ICAO worked to create international law through this political process. He also discussed flaws in the system and concluded with suggested reforms for the system.

The next speaker was Jeffrey Klang, Regional Counsel, Great Lakes Region, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Klang began by explaining how he became an aviation lawyer for the FAA. He also gave briefs remarks on the work that he does at the Great Lakes Office of the FAA. He then discussed how all three branches of government work together in order to increase aviation safety. He made remarks on how international law interacts with domestic law. He gave a brief description of how Open Skies agreements specifically cause challenges for the domestic legal system in relation to international law. He then moved to a discussion of the Capetown Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment. He stated that the convention is about creating a security interest system for movable assets worldwide. He gave an overview of how the convention was negotiated. He also highlighted how the convention not only helped financiers, but how it also increased safety by giving more States access to safer aircraft.

The final speakers on the panel were Lindsey Etheridge, T.J. Koger, and Elizabeth Young. All three are University of Mississippi School of Law students who have been working on a legislation project under the direction of Prof. Serrao. The project focuses on the aviation laws of Nigeria. These students researched things such as accident investigation, security, and economic regulation. They then made comparisons to the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Act, and how it could be used as a model to reform the Nigerian code.

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