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See detailNON-CONTRACTUAL LIABILITIES FROM CIVILIAN VERSIONS OF GNSS: CURRENT TRENDS, LEGAL CHALLENGES AND POTENTIAL
Loukakis, Andreas UL

Doctoral thesis (2015)

Galileo is to be Europe’s own Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). It is expected to provide a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. It will be interoperable ... [more ▼]

Galileo is to be Europe’s own Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). It is expected to provide a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service under civilian control. It will be interoperable with the Global Positioning System (GPS), the US version of GNSS. Remarkably enough, whereas GPS was introduced as a purely military system, Galileo will be the first solely civilian GNSS, offering a great number of useful -everyday life- applications. It is expected to become fully operational by the year 2020 as part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s funding program for research and innovation. For the operation of Galileo, advanced technology will need to be employed. A number of satellites will be placed into fixed orbits in outer space; the satellites will be constantly emitting navigational signals indicating their position at any given time and in a very precise way. The navigational signals will be received by any person possessing the necessary technology, such as a GNSS receiver (the so-called navis technology). When receiving the signals from at least four satellites, the receiver can accurately pinpoint the position of persons and goods around the globe. There will be many benefits in using this technology, such as more efficient navigation of different modes of transportation (i.e. navigation of planes or ships). Besides navigational data, Galileo satellites will provide information for timing and positioning. Hence, various applications concerned with the synchronization of economic networks (i.e. at banks or financial institutions) or scientific applications related to the environment and meteorology are expected to emerge. Nonetheless, where there are advantages, there are also risks and legal challenges. Questions relating to the civil liability of the Galileo’s system operator in the event of a GNSS failure -especially liabilities connected to signal provision in space- have attracted significant interest lately. For example, a failure in signal provision (i.e. signal loss or an erroneous signal) resulting from negligence with respect to the GNSS operator may lead to damage scenarios with catastrophic consequences: an aircraft crash in a densely populated area, or a shipwreck with disastrous effects for the environment would be two examples. Following these observations, several questions must be asked from a liability law perspective. Inter alia: what are possible civil liability implications emanating from the advent of civilian versions of GNSS such as the EU’s Galileo? Can the provision of defective information from signals lead to liability implications? What would be the responses under current legal provisions? And lastly, what need may arise in the future for the initiation of a centralized approach, for instance a unified instrument, either at EU or international level, regulating liabilities for the signal in space provision? Interestingly enough, once the first GNSS structures such as the US GPS or Russian GLONASS became operational, the issue of liability from a signal failure was not of such significant concern in light of their mostly military nature. Presently, the situation has changed to an important extent: due to the advent of new non-military versions such as Galileo, the issue of liability connected to the provision of navigational signals has become topical. This research aims at examining the foregoing questions related to civil liability implications (mainly non-contractual liabilities) from the perspective of civilian versions of GNSS. The EU’s Galileo will be the most prevailing example examined in the present study. The research attempts to investigate the civil liability ramifications especially from the GNSS-Galileo operator’s perspective. Since the governance issues surrounding the operation of Galileo are still subject to debate, the research features two hypothetical case studies: on the one hand, a public governance scheme with the EU operating the system and possible liabilities against the EU, and on the other hand, a private governance scheme with a private entity operating the system and potential liabilities towards the private operator. Both case studies are examined from a de lege lata and a de lege ferenda perspective. Yet, the present research attempts to identify some future proposals. As it is argued, the issue of GNSS liability should be first regulated at regional level rather than international level. In this respect, the EU could, for example, possibly promote a future EU Regulation. Moreover, and as established by the analysis of the present study, such a Regulation should contain two elements, a substantive and procedural one. For the resolution of disputes connected to signal provision in space, the rule of strict liability and liability channeling onto the operator from a substantive viewpoint may depict the peculiarities contained within the field of satellite navigation more efficiently. Most importantly, and as far as the resolution of such disputes is concerned, this study argues that binding arbitration may be a plausible and alternative option to be considered in the foreseeable future. To this end, certain inspirations can potentially be drawn by the new PCA Rules of Arbitration on Outer Space Disputes adopted recently in December 2011. [less ▲]

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See detailMy Galileo signal made me do it: Civil liabilities of the EU from the provision of Galileo signals
Loukakis, Andreas UL

Presentation (2015, January 23)

What are the potential liabilities of the EU from the operation of Galileo?

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See detailThe New PCA' s Rules for Arbitration and their Relevance to Disputes Arising from Erroneous Navigational Signals
Loukakis, Andreas UL

Scientific Conference (2014, September 30)

This contribution seeks to address the issues of damage and dispute resolution for erroneous navigational signals from a different perspective, particularly under a newly adopted legal mechanism: The ... [more ▼]

This contribution seeks to address the issues of damage and dispute resolution for erroneous navigational signals from a different perspective, particularly under a newly adopted legal mechanism: The Permanent Court of Arbitration’ s (PCA) Optional Rules for Disputes Relating to Outer Space Activities. One interesting provision contained within these rules is article 1. Article 1 par. 1 provides that “the Outer Space Rules can be adopted by consent as the rules between any parties whatever their nature...”. Furthermore, the last sentence of article 1 stipulates that “the characterization of the dispute as relating to Outer Space is not necessary for jurisdiction under these rules…”. Hence, one would argue that the scope of application -both personal and material- of the PCA rules is quite broad, depending exclusively on the will and the consent of the parties. In light of this broad scope of application of the new PCA rules, the paper will examine their relevance for disputes in the field of Global Navigational Satellite Systems. Additionally, it will assess the practical chances of success of this new legal instrument for potential GNSS related disputes. [less ▲]

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See detailProduct Liability Ramifications for Erroneous GNSS Signals: Is an Alternative Approach Possible? in 2013 Proceedings of the International Institute of Space Law
Loukakis, Andreas UL

in Eleven International Publishing (Ed.) 2013 PROCEEDINGS OF THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SPACE LAW (2013)

The liability regime for erroneous signals provided from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is a topical issue. There is already certain legal analysis relating to this matter which suggests the ... [more ▼]

The liability regime for erroneous signals provided from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is a topical issue. There is already certain legal analysis relating to this matter which suggests the adoption of an international convention which would subject GNSS operators to a strict liability regime with a limitation on the amount and furthermore supplemented by a compensation fund. This paper will try to address the issues of liability for erroneous GNSS signals from a different perspective, namely that of product liability. Interestingly, someone could argue that in case of an erroneous GNSS signal, the GNSS provider could be considered liable for defective product, if the GNSS signal were qualified as a product. In some legal systems, this would lead to strict liability of the provider. In order to reach such a conclusion, it would be necessary to qualify the GNSS signal as a product. Thus, a number of particular questions need to be further explored: First, would the concept of product liability be relevant for GNSS activities? Furthermore, can a satellite signal be qualified as a product or as a service? What would be the legal consequences for GNSS signal providers if satellite signals were qualified as products? The basic aim of this paper is to give answers to the aforementioned questions. In doing so, the paper will base its analysis on two GNSS systems; the current system of GPS and the forthcoming system of Galileo. After briefly describing the basic elements of these systems and some hypothetical scenarios of damage, the paper will address the issue of whether satellite signals could be considered as products or services. In doing so, analogies from other fields as for instance electricity or defective information stemming from aeronautical charts, will be drawn. Electricity has been recognized as a product in a number of legal systems, within the EU for example. Defective information stemming from aeronautical charts has been qualified as a product by some American Courts. Given the fact that satellite signals share a number of common characteristics with electricity as well as with information derived from aeronautical charts, by analogy, one could reach the conclusion that satellite signals might be qualified as products. In addition, the legal consequences of recognizing satellite signals as a product will be examined by reviewing product liability provisions in selected legal systems, namely the USA and the EU. Finally, some conclusions will be drawn from the aforementioned analysis. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 128 (12 UL)