The first years of the Legal Committee


The Comité International Technique d’Experts Juridiques Aériens (CITEJA) was created pursuant to a recommendation adopted at the First International Conference on Private Air Law, held in Paris in 1925, to develop a code of private international air law through the preparation of draft international conventions for final adoption at periodic international conferences on private air law. Four International Conferences on Private Air Law were held until the war interrupted the work of CITEJA and further unification of private air law.


In pursuance of the recommendation made by the delegates to the Chicago Conference held in 1944 with regard to the resumption of the work of the CITEJA and the desirability of coordinating the activities of CITEJA with those organizations within the field of public international law, the 14th Plenary Session of CITEJA, i.e. the first session to be held since the outbreak of the war, was convened in Paris from 22 to 29 January 1946; thirty-two countries were represented at that session.  It adopted several resolutions taking into consideration the creation of the Provisional International Civil Aviation (PICAO) in 1945, and agreed in principle to a liaison and cooperation with PICAO and to transmit to the Council of PICAO the drafts on international air law conventions.  However, CITEJA wished to remain with its own secretariat, annual budget, rules of procedure, and Contracting States.


The 1st Interim Assembly of PICAO, held at Montreal from 21 May to 7 June 1946, adopted Resolution 31 foreseeing the establishment of a Permanent Committee on International Air Law (i.e. a Legal Committee) after the creation of ICAO. CITEJA fully agreed with the view of PICAO Assembly and held its last working meeting (i.e. the 15th Plenary Session) at Cairo from 14 to 19 November 1946, where it recommended that a Committee on International Air Law be established within ICAO. The 1st Session of the ICAO Assembly, held in Montreal from 6 to 27 May 1947, adopted Resolution A1-46 creating the Legal Committee as permanent body of the Organization replacing the CITEJA. At the same time of the 1st Assembly, CITEJA held its final meeting and decided on its dissolution. Thus, the permanent Legal Committee came into being on 23 May 1947; it was a committee of the Assembly, but operated largely under the direction of the Council and its duties were rather straightforward: to study any legal matters referred to it by the Council. It was comprised of legal experts appointed by the Member States. The Legal Committee held its first full session in Brussels from 10 to 25 September 1947.


Any draft convention which the Legal Committee considers as ready for presentation to States as a final draft is be transmitted to the ICAO Council. Such drafts, after comments and circulation to States, are considered with a view of approval by a Diplomatic Conference or International Conference on Air Law. The resulting legal instrument is then open for signature at the close of such conference. ICAO has been very productive in international law-making and the Legal Committee since 1947 has prepared many drafts which led to the adoption of air instruments.


Since 1947, the Legal Committee has considered questions of both private and public international air law. Its constitution has been amended slightly since 1947, and its annual sessions rarely coincide with the meetings of the ICAO Assembly. The Legal Committee, along with the Air Navigation Commission and the Air Transport Committee became the central permanent committees of ICAO.



Tokyo, JAPAN - 12 to 25 September 1957

Eleventh Session of the Legal Committee

The picture in the green circle on the 5-yen postal card shows the Parliament Building in Tokyo. The cancellation is applied vertically, as the postcard is in portrait format.

The postmark on the postcard show: 32. 9. 12. With the year 1873, the Gregorian calendar was introduced to Japan. While the Christian way of numbering years is commonly used in Japan today, a parallel numbering system was also frequently applied for years according to the reigns of emperors. The year 1957, which happened to be the 32nd year of reign of the emperor Hirohito, also known as Emperor Shōwa (his reign started in 1926), was called Shōwa 32.