Prof. Dr Frans G. von der Dunk (Netherlands)
Current term: 2020-2023
Professor Dr. Frans G. von der Dunk holds the Harvey and Susan Perlman Alumni / Othmer Chair of Space Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s LL.M. Programme on Space, Cyber and Telecommunication Law (for more information on the programme: see here) since January 2008. He also is Director of the Black Holes consultancy company in space law and policy, based in Leiden (for more information: see here). Previously, he was Co-Director, then Director of Space Law Research at the International Institute of Air and Space Law at Leiden University since 1990.
Prof. Von der Dunk was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL) of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in Vancouver, in October 2004, and the Social Science Award of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in Valencia, in October 2006. In the summer of 2008, he was nominated, as the first lawyer ever, Member of the European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC) of the European Space Foundation (ESF). Also, he was the sole lawyer on the Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation established by the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) in 2007. In October 2015, the Handbook of Space Law which he edited and contributed six chapters to, was awarded the Social Science Book Award of the IAA in Jerusalem.
He defended his dissertation entitled Private Enterprise and Public Interest in the European ‘Spacescape’ in 1998. He has written more than 180 articles and published papers, many of which can be accessed here, giving rise to hundreds of full-text downloads monthly. He has given more than 150 presentations at international meetings and was visiting professor at over 30 universities and other academic institutions across the world on subjects of international and national space law and policy, international air law and public international law. He has (co-)organised some 20 international symposia, workshops and other events, and has been (co-)editor of a number of publications and proceedings. As of 2006, he is the Series Editor of ‘Studies in Space Law’, published by Brill.
He has given many interviews to the international media on issues of space law and policy, including a 2016 Dutch TV documentary and the 2017 Asteroid Day Luxembourg TV marathon. (Watch here and here). He has presented at TEDx and PINC conferences (Watch here and here).
Prof. Von der Dunk has served as adviser to the Dutch Government, a number of foreign Governments, the European Commission, the European Space Agency (ESA), the United Nations (UN), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a number of space agencies, and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), as well as a number of companies, and was member of the Advisory Group to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the drafting of Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes relating to Outer Space.
Such advisory work dealt with a broad area of issues related to space activities, such as space policy, international cooperation in space, national space law, privatisation of space activities, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) (in particular Galileo), satellite communications, radio astronomy, and earth observation. Also, he has acted as the Legal Task Manager in a number of studies undertaken in particular within the context of leading European Commission projects, such as on European space policy, Galileo and GNSS, satellite communications, the Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (GMES) project and earth observation. Much of his recent work furthermore focused on such topical issues as space tourism, the legal status of the Moon and other celestial bodies such as asteroids and the ‘sale-of-lunar-estate hoax’, and planetary protection.
He is Director Public Relations of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL), Member of the Board of the European Centre for Space Law (ECSL), and Member for the Netherlands in the International Law Association’s (ILA) Committee on Space Law. He is also Member of the International Editorial Board of ‘Space Policy’. Further memberships include: International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), American Branch of the International Law Association (ABILA), International Bar Association’s (IBA) Section on Business Law (SBL), Committee Z on Outer Space Law, International Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC) of the International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA; Senior Member), and Centro de Investigacion y Difusion Aeronautico-Espacial (CIDA-E; Corresponding Member).