Supporting Implementation Strategies — Legal Services and External Relations — Remotely Piloted Aircraft

Study of Legal Issues relating to Remotely Piloted Aircraft


A study was presented to the 36th Session of the Legal Committee (30 November to 3 December 2015) on the issue of liability as it relates to Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) which examined the existing international legal liability regime, to include the regime for liability to third parties, 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.


Though the Committee expressed its overall satisfaction with the work of the Secretariat and concluded that the matter of the adequacy and efficacy of the international liability regime had been rightly addressed by the study, it found there are other aspects of RPA 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, which necessitated continued consideration of an international framework. There was thus broad support on the Committee for a questionnaire to States, both as a means of gathering information on national legislation for comparative purposes, and as a means to identify potentially relevant international legal issues. Consistent with the Committee’s recommendations, the questionnaire (State letter LE 4/63 – 16/77) was distributed on 29 August 2016 and called on States to submit their responses by 31 October 2016. These responses will be analysed and a report presented to the 37th Session of the Legal Committee.

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