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At the moment we have got 9 questions dealing with space law.

I propose to rigidly enforce StackExchange-wide policy on refraining from legal advice by closing the questions as off-topic. The reasons are as follows:

  • StackExchange, and/or posters may be held liable for legal advice (see this pearl).
  • In some jurisdictions it is illegal to provide legal advice without registration, passing the bar exam, whatever.
  • Laws do change, so the answer which was perfect yesterday may be obsolete tomorrow.
  • People expect those who answer at StackExchange sites to be at least somewhat proficient and knowledgeable in the subject of the question and rely on community voting to weed out the chaff from the weed. Unfortunately, highly specialized fields like law are not amenable to crowdvoting.

The egregious example of a law question that should be IMNSHO closed is Jurisdiction over crime in space.

  • $\begingroup$ Law is highly specialized but space exploration is not? $\endgroup$ – Erik Jul 24 '13 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Erik, From what I know, space lawyers aren't likely to hang out at SEx.SE and give out free advice. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Jul 24 '13 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ I would agree that the question is questionably on-topic. But that isn't what you were suggesting above or below. $\endgroup$ – Erik Jul 24 '13 at 0:37

It's quite a stretch to say that that question is asking for legal advice.

You have a better point regarding its applicability to Space Exploration though -- although I would err on the side of allowing it. Whenever humans expand the frontier, our laws and politics go with us. After all, politics is just the way groups of people decide things.

  • $\begingroup$ There's another problem with speculative answers masquerading as answers on legality: they may be based on pure opinions and/or ideology. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Jul 24 '13 at 0:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ So you want to close that question because the answers have opinions in them? $\endgroup$ – Erik Jul 24 '13 at 0:30

Law in space is currently more philosophy than actual legal stuff. The (for me) ironic thing is, that there are actually space lawyers. I gave kind of an overview answer on this topic without any legal advice but explaining the situation. And I gave plenty of links for further reading, e.g. to the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). I think we need to handle such questions. Not in terms of advice, but in terms of a general enlightenment to people, who do not know anything about space at all.


Questions dealing with generalities about should be allowed, but realize, this isn't a site for legal advice. If a specific situation were to arise, then we are certainly not qualified to give an answer. In my mind, there's a big difference between that an asking general policies about the law as they affect space.

Considering the amount of money spent on Space Projects, anyone with a serious question would consult a lawyer rather than ask Stack Exchange. I really can't see any situation that anyone might ask a question here that they would really be depending on that answer.

Bottom line, Stack Exchange is a voluntary system, where people devote their own time for reputation points. I think this is well known, and people won't be taking any real advice.


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