Supporting Implementation Strategies — Legal Services and External Relations — Study of legal issues relating to remotely piloted aircraft systems

36th Session of the Legal Committee

Study of legal issues relating to remotely piloted aircraft systems

Consideration of guidance on conflicts of interest in civil aviation

Promotion of international air law instruments

Safety aspects of economic liberalization and Article 83 bis

Special Group relating to conflict zones

Strategic Planning Group (SPG)

International interests in mobile equipment (aircraft equipment)



Study of legal issues relating to remotely piloted aircraft systems


On the basis of the action of the 38th Session of the Assembly in response to working paper A38-WP/262, which was presented by the Republic of Korea and reasoned that there was a need for further legal research and examination of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) liability matters in light of the increasing use of RPA, and in furtherance of the decisions taken by the Council during its 200th (C-DEC 200/5) and 203rd (C-DEC 203/5) Sessions, the Legal Affairs and External Relations Bureau (LEB) undertook a study of the issue of liability as it relates to RPA.


The study examined the existing international legal liability regime to determine whether there were any issues that needed to be addressed with respect to RPA and concluded the regime in its current state is legally adequate to accommodate RPA technology. The study was presented to the 36th Session of the Legal Committee. The Committee’s overall satisfaction with the work of the Secretariat notwithstanding, it concluded that the study of legal issues relating to RPA should remain on its work programme, as an international framework relative to other aspects of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) operations of an international nature, such as operations over the high seas, cross-border operations, and changes in possession/control of the RPA during international flight, might warrant future consideration.


The Committee also called for a questionnaire to be sent out to States, both as a means of gathering information on national legislation for comparative purposes, and as a means to identify the international issues that are in play (that is, problems that cannot be solved by national legislation).

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