As I hinted in  yesterday's blog about the US Navy's experiments in space-time modification, this week's email inbox of articles contained all sorts of articles about science and technology, and this is another story that fits into that category that arrived in my box on Monday. It was shared by T.L. and W.G. (Thank you!) This particular story caused me to remove the original blog story I had composed for today to this week's "honorable mentions" and to talk about his one instead. The article is all  about the United Arab Emirates's new "space court," but there's a very interesting and highly suggestive bit of information about that court in the second article that will have huge implications for future space law. Here's the story:

Dubai creates 'space court' for out-of-this-world disputes

Dubai creates ‘space court’ for out-of-this-world disputes

The United Arab Emirates, Dubai, as the story relates, is one of the smaller nations getting involved in the race to commercialize space. As such, it has established a space court to arbitrate disputes between space companies in Dubai.

But there's a catch in the article, and it highlights a looming problem; from the second article:

Dubai announced Monday the creation of a "space court" to settle commercial disputes, as the UAE—which is also sending a probe to Mars—builds its presence in the space sector.


The tribunal will be based at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, an independent British-inspired arbitration centre based on common law.

Space law is governed by international conventions and resolutions, including the UN Outer Space Treaty which entered into force in 1967. Several states have also signed bilateral or multilateral agreements to regulate their space activities. (Boldface emphasis added

It's that reference to common law that intrigues here. There are of course many legal systems at use in the world, each with their underlying philosophies, common law being but one of them; Europe itself, with the exception of Great Britain and Ireland, has a system more influenced by Roman, and even more so, by Napoleonic law. The problem thus far in space law is deciding what sort of system will be involved? As humans eventually push into space and perhaps construct permanent colonies there, will criminal cases, for example, be settled in courts of common law? Or in a more "Napoleonic" system? Or some other system? So far, these types of questions have not emerged and most space law as the articles point out are governed by international treaty.

The creation by the United Arab Emirates of an arbitration court based on common law, however, suggests that the idea of space as a "commons" is already quite widespread, since it it a concept already present in varying degrees in several space treaties, designating celestial bodies as being a "commons", i.e., not territory of any sovereign state, but allowing private corporations to mine and own whatever they may recover from a celestial body. The trend seems to suggest that space will be the province of private jurisdictions, a kind of space version of the French, British, and Dutch East India companies, corporations with immense financial power, private militaries and jurisdictions, that were nonetheless the corporate expression of the imperial ambitions of the countries they represented.  The extension of this trend would also seem to imply the extension of salvage law of the high seas to space itself: whoever comes across abandoned ships on the high seas can claim them and their cargoes for salvage.

All this brings me to a high octane speculation and prediction: as nations might increasingly bog down in negotiations of space law, corporations will in fact be driving the process at much faster pace than the nations themselves in which they are incorporated. As they stake out claims, and negotiate contracts for collaborative efforts, it will be inevitable that in any such contractual arrangements that those corporations may conclude, there will be include arbitration provisions to resolve disputes in such-and-such a jurisdiction and under that jurisdiction's laws. Nations as a result will attempt to tailor their space laws to the benefit of certain types of space corporation or activity.

This "East India Company Model of Space Commercialization" also implies something else, something very important and to bear in mind as rich nations like the UAE (or Luxembourg!) get into the space race: nations may negotiate and try to limit the proliferation of weapons in space. But corporations, mining operations, and salvage operations, and so on, will want to protect their very expensive investments, treaties or no treaties.

And as for the eventual criminal case in space, expect the emergence of "corporate courts"...

See you on the flip side....


Posted in

Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. Olivia Blundell on February 16, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Meanwhile, WH is cancelling SpaceX for Mars. Some say WH is letting their asian partner getting ahead, but, at least to me, it seems WH doesn’t want companies to creat their own nation out there.

  2. FiatLux on February 4, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    To me, this looks like corporations maneuvering to cut nation-states’ courts of the picture when it comes to settling space-related disputes.

    Several points are notable. First, a common law system was chosen. One of the core principles of that system is the freedom of private parties to contract. In this connection, two ideas predominate: (1) if it’s not otherwise prohibited, it can and should be regulated by agreement between private parties, without legislators’ input; (2) in a dispute, courts will, as much as possible, uphold and enforce contracts. (This is a different philosophy of social relations than that which underpins civil law, where the roles of state, legislator, and statute are more prominent.)

    Second, this Dubai “space court” is not a court, which would have a sovereign country’s judges and judicial procedure; instead, it’s an arbitration mechanism, not necessarily bound by the rules of any sovereign state’s judicial procedure.

    Third, under common law, it’s typical for contracts to have “governing law” and “forum” clauses, which means the contracting parties can choose which country’s law (or maybe international law, or in future a particular planet’s law) will be applied to disputes and in what court or by what means—arbitration, mediation, courts, etc.—disputes are to be settled. This gives the contracting parties maximum flexibility to decide what rules they want to play by. Space Corp. XYZ doesn’t want to be bound by, say, German law? Fine, write up a contract that says it’s governed by [Luxembourg, Delaware, international, Mars, Elon Muskian, or whatever] law. What? The courts where the launchpad is located won’t countenance that law? No problem: stipulate in the contract that all disputes will be handled by the arbitration tribunal of Dubai.

    Bottom line: corporations get to operate by whatever rules they want, subject only to any restrictions imposed by the Dubai tribunal, which I’d wager will be fairly few.

  3. marcos toledo on February 4, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    It’s back to the future think Cillian, Barbary pirates Brethren of Coast, Organized Crime in Space. And this on steroids the greats ocean in the universe the scourge of all nations will have the greatest stage to commit their villainy. Read Citizen Of The Galaxy by Robert Heinlein.

  4. Michael on February 4, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    Why Dubai? What makes them the negotiators of the new frontier? What has been Dubai’s role in global courts the last 100 years? Are they linked to any unknown species or breakaway groups in space or the abyss that the general public may not be privy too?

    • OrigensChild on February 5, 2021 at 10:17 am

      Similar things was once said about Venice, then Amsterdam, then London… It’s amazing how these small and insignificant “towns” and “cities” suddenly become “important”.

  5. Roger on February 4, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    So…um…if another companies does all the work of extracting a product and their cargo vessel has a malfunction and is dead in space with no living crew on board, does my salvage vessel get to keep their vessel and cargo? Interesting!

  6. OrigensChild on February 4, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve been quiet for the past few days as I collect information and thoughts. Other than “Swift” goading the progressives, I wanted to get a sense of perspective on matters related to secession, corporations, geo-politics and etc. Over the past two days, two sets of information crossed my desk that helped me link today’s blog and past conversations. First, Daniel Horowitz was on yesterday’s Steve Deace program–where he discussed the problems in “conservative” states where even though there are strong conservative Constitutional communities, most of the governors and state legislatures are afraid of media, federal and corporate responses to an active “push back”. CAF’s concept of the “shriek-o-meter” is in high gear with the pandemic being the engine used to drive the train of social, political and economic change here. It is a fascist approach–and corporations are now in the hands of fascists. To change the world to fascist socialism they had to penetrate the corporate umbrella in most key industries with international corporations. Second, no matter what the government says, when corporations decide to violate one’s civil liberties as a condition for employment all bets are off. Corporate charters *must* be forced to accept basic human safe-guards or this whole thing creates hell on earth quickly.

    It would take a long blog to describe the topology that I see in any detail, so I will endeavor to be brief. We now see that nations will increasingly become less active in matters of space until the matter of empires are settled. Personally, I don’t think the empire model works any more outside of the corporate domain.
    As predicted long ago, the idea of a nation state appears to be on the altar for sacrifice. Governments exist to fund private corporate expanse into space. Large block grants will continue to be collected from the citizen through various taxation schemes and sent to the private corporations for research, development and proof of concept missions. As these are consumed and the first set of “products” are recovered for contributing to market forces, the corporations will become the primary driver for all social, political and economic policies and drive cultural development while governments scramble to identify their relevance. (It seems government officials are oblivious to the whole restructuring operation. This is why DC is walled up–to figure out why everyone is angry at the outcome of this past election and what is happening to their own power during the erosion process. Corporations are ecstatic to see this occur because they are now able to extort Congress to their approach to the problem, which will obviously improve corporate revenues with new products and services.) As corporations take greater control of the economic and social levers of power the concept of “nation” will be remanded to an economic engine and a judicial role. Everything the Bidenenski regime and the politburo is doing at the moment is Marxist in appearance but fascist in nature. These “rules” are designed to funnel additional spending into targeted markets that will render the oil industry obsolete and a static economy with little reason for movement of the citizens to remand them to isolation, integration and expulsion. What is happening in Dubai and Luxembourg will become the pattern for the ‘nation state’ in the future. What is happening locally will be a total shutdown on all economic activity until the new economic system has been deployed.

    Now, this sounds like a series of prognostications. I do not pretend to be a prophet, but as an hypothesis its the best I have. Feel free to rip these opinions apart as I am more willing to learn than to speak. Someone has to initiate the conversation. Now, I can go and listen to Magic Pie’s cd “This Suffering Joy” and revisit the titles “Slightly Mad” and “Tired” again. Great song if Uriah Heep and Deep Purple are your bag. Great song for a brilliant disk. As a tonic for the current ills, the whole disc is about the human condition, where “suffering” and “joy” are oft intertwined.

    • Robert Barricklow on February 4, 2021 at 3:23 pm

      Basically private power is ravenously eating public power’s lunch, breakfast & dinner. The public is now toast. It’s back to the future feudalism w/countless slaves under unaccountable power.

    • FiatLux on February 4, 2021 at 6:37 pm

      I might differ on some of the details, but in general, I think your analysis is on the right track. One observation I’d make is that corporations’ being in a position to extort legislators is nothing new. It’s just a lot more “in your face” today than in the past.

    • Alex on February 4, 2021 at 6:46 pm

      The process you describe is consistent and the outcome you suppose might happen.
      As long as we’re unaware of who we are and of our own creativity, we might got caught into this trap. At this point, I don’t know at which existent this will be a matter of point of view and subjective experience rather than “shared reality”.
      But I suspect that people might get very bored in a world as the one you describe and that it will culturally lean towards entropy – even if huge quantities of physical energy is extracted from asteroid belts or wherever. As this happens, such world organisation will dissolve into something else.
      Simply because of the thermodynamic laws, not because of a high ethical principle or whatever.
      A scenario that might contradict the one above, is the breakaway civilization possibility.
      In the latter, the breakaway civilization will do just fine and the rest (of us) will disappear.
      « No big deal », neodarwinists might say, as this is part of the game and it happened many times already: it’s called blind evolution. If however we value Life as being one, we won’t let this happen, at least for ourselves. We have a test right now in the way we treat other species, specially the ones very close to us, like the orang-outans.
      If we let them disappear, it’s very likely that we will be next on the list.

      • OrigensChild on February 4, 2021 at 7:22 pm

        I now think the breakaways have very little to do with the rest of us now. Why bother? From their way of thinking this civilization is hardly worth the time or the effort to “fix”. Trade and tribute are the only things they would want. They do not need our worship, or praise, or our opinions. I think they really broke away. So, I agree with that one completely.

        The only contender for a breakaway civilization in modern times that might be interested in the common man is the Nazi International. This group I am willing to entertain in this proposition. Nazi’s want their Reich, are willing to commit genocide to obtain it and have no concern for our thoughts or opinions. I am of the opinion they are at the heart of this trans-humanist agenda–and would use that as their means for castrating humanity into slaves with them at the top of the food-chain. That group would be in play–and that group is just reckless enough to blow their chances of survival. The German group was far more intelligent and almost got away with it. This group is far too hedonistic and short-sighted to survive the long game.

        The good news is Florida and Texas are leading the charge against the Bideneski politburo. But this might be just political posturing in the event Trump doesn’t run in 2024 and the Republican party nomination is up for grabs. Of the two Florida’s governor seems the more conservative–and he seems committed. The one state that I am watching is West Virginia. They have become a bell-weather of conservatism over the past 20 years. One of the reasons Manchin is their Senator isn’t the party–but the person. If we see West Virginia taking steps in this direction then we might have a better chance of pulling this off. Until these conservative states decide to face the “shriek-o-meter”, I’m not sure we will have enough time. I will join in with the resistance at any rate without violence if at all possible, because the long game does not depend on war to win. It might take a war to give us the opportunity, though.

        • FiatLux on February 4, 2021 at 9:33 pm

          I wonder what the relationship is between today’s version of the Nazi International and China… Talk about a clash of the titans!

        • RJ on February 6, 2021 at 1:46 am

          i got the hypothesis hitler is still alive at nazi base 211 in antarctica running the deep state, they got the fountain of youth or somethin and hes still like 50 years old lol

      • FiatLux on February 4, 2021 at 9:29 pm

        We (the non-elite) are next on their (the elite’s) list to disappear, or at least shrink in number significantly. And we have been for a long time. They already see themselves as practically a different species from us. And they have for a long time…

        • OrigensChild on February 4, 2021 at 9:38 pm

          I agree with Dr. Farrell on this one. They are a different species–but inferior.

  7. Anthony on February 4, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Bee out of the loop has JP discuss hints on his next book?

    • OrigensChild on February 4, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      Nothing of which I am aware. I know he is working on at least one title.

  8. Robert Barricklow on February 4, 2021 at 11:43 am

    First off, I’m still puzzling over the military/Bribenenko coupling?
    Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer[Sun Tzu]?

    I poste something in the forum that frames today’s reading:
    Going to have some compet1tion in who rules space.
    In fact, some want to rule the space between your skull,
    the Planet Earth and Space!
    And, if truth be known. They’re searching for parameters I didn’t even mention – so, “they” can rule that as well.
    The only thing that can’t rule;
    is their own damn selves!
    That’s what’s truly…
    [to the post…]

    Back to the Admiralty Laws of the high seas?
    [truly high, in every sense of the “smoking’ word] [Think movie “Mask”]

    And, then remember; the treaties are when
    there is a status quo in military strengths & weaknesses.
    As soon as that’s breached; it’s warfare.

    Yes, the corporate; The Fix-Is-In Court$!
    To Boldly Bold Go Where No Private Enterpri$e Has Been Before…
    and OWN SPACE!

    • Robert Barricklow on February 4, 2021 at 11:58 am

      Except, there’s a rumor that even man, himself, is already “owned”.
      Although, “they” do counter that, and say/Possession is 9/10 of the law.
      Some even counter that, by saying/Our leaders are the only ones; truly

  9. DanaThomas on February 4, 2021 at 10:29 am

    On the other hand, this “court” would not get very far with Sharia law.

    • Richard on February 5, 2021 at 5:47 am

      Considering that Space is often referred to from what most western countries think of space – satellites, rockets, planets, space weather, the Others – but from an Islamic frame of reference is not all that unusual. Wise men from that eastern region have known about the heavens for quite a long time, too. Becoming affiliated with some of the business-related components of space, space travel, and associations with yet the Others, is also not that unusual. Even expected. It might be viewed differently than as it was prior to the 700’s AD and afterwards when the Qur’an came to be, but the sheikhs of Dubai (Dubayy), have fostered trade and commerce for centuries. It’s not anything new to those folks. Space is, in some ways, is just an extension of what they already do. They’re far more sophisticated than what some western stereotyping would have them categorized as Being having mapped the skies throughout their presence on the planet. The one true God does have standing amongst the heavens today after all not just among the terrestrial trade routes of antiquity. There’s more than enough room for the traditions of Abraham. This business of terrestrial social media distortion might benefit from an outside viewpoint and perspective.

      Some insight about how some folks consider Islamic Shari’ah Law (“the path leading to the watering place”):

      It has some valued perspectives where relationships and conscience tend to merge into yet another presence.

      Then again, as you mention, there is the matter of the legal-political-military doctrine known within Islam as ‘Shari’ah.’ Where does one draw the line between the personal portion and the pluralistic societal boundaries of any imposition of law? The usual totalitarian characteristics verses Constitution and the freedoms it supports. Similar to yet another totalitarian type in Red with Mandarin characteristics. It’s been clear they’re not concerned with another’s law of any kind but their own imposed set.

      Clearly, there seems another other worldly consideration yet to be factored into the terrestrial mix that’s difficult to interpret at the moment.

  10. anakephalaiosis on February 4, 2021 at 9:44 am

    In Trumpville, man knows a great deal,
    having turned the lucky wheel,
    with running staffers
    in all corners,
    compassing seventh seal.

    Contrapunctus loop law in Jacob’s Ladder:

    • anakephalaiosis on February 4, 2021 at 10:54 am


      When Jesuits played Mozart tune,
      directing outer space tribune,
      their mole meddling
      of interfering,
      sealed their burning doom.

  11. Peter on February 4, 2021 at 8:12 am

    Space. The final frontier… ensure your anal swab is complete before entering.

  12. Terminal Tom on February 4, 2021 at 5:17 am

    in other words, corporations will stack the deck in their favor as usual.
    Billionaires: ditto

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