UCL FACULTY OF LAWS
Centre for Law and the Environment

Centre for Law and the Environment:
Satellites and the Law


The Centre for Law and the Environment at UCL has an internationally recognised research programme on Satellites and the Law, examining where satellites might be used for monitoring and enforcing environmental laws. This distinct programme, run by Ray Purdy, now has over ten years experience looking at  satellite technologies in a legal context. It has received research funding from a variety of sources including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), British National Space Centre (BNSC), and the European Commission.
Research examines:

  • Existing national and international experience and operational effectiveness with satellite imagery as a legal monitoring and compliance tool.
  • Evidential and privacy issues in using satellite imagery in courts.
  • The potential for current and future satellites to be used as a compliance tool in the context of the requirements of national, European Union and international environmental legislation.
  • If monitoring by satellites can influence the compliance behaviour of those subject to regulation, and how it affect relationships with regulatory bodies.
  • Communication and knowledge transfer to environmental regulators, governments, lawyers, and the satellite industry.
This is a Panchromatic, 50 centimeter high-resolution WorldView-1 satellite image featuring the rocket launch from the Musudan Ri launch facility, formerly known as Taepo-dong. Copyright DigitalGlobe 2009.

This is a Panchromatic, 50 centimeter high-resolution WorldView-1 satellite image featuring the rocket launch from the Musudan Ri launch facility, formerly known as Taepo-dong. Copyright DigitalGlobe 2009.

Image of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, collected by the GeoEye-1 satellite on March 30, 2009. Copyright GeoEye 2009.

Image of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska, collected by the GeoEye-1 satellite on March 30, 2009. GeoEye Inc. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.