Corporate Sovereigns: The Governance of Space Exploration Corporations

London, Ontario, Canada, May 26-27, 2023

The Workshop Conveners welcome the submission of proposals for thematic papers to be presented at the Workshop hosted by Western University Faculty of Law and Western Space. The Workshop will take place in summer 2023 at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, in a historic Georgian manor nestled on 30 acres of sprawling parkland, and will include 3 meals a day and social activities. The settings are intended to encourage contemplation is a serene environment.

Please note that this is an extension of the original Call for Papers that was issued in 2020, as the workshop was rescheduled due to Covid-19. New submissions are welcomed as well as reworked previous submissions.


The Workshop will discuss the regulation of space exploration corporations, as would-be corporate sovereigns. The US administration charters and licenses corporations like SpaceX and Blue Origin to undertake daring projects to commercialize and colonize Earth orbit and outer space, including mining space resources and establishing installations and even extra-terrestrial habitats. Like big hi-tech companies such as Facebook and Google, some space exploration corporations may end up having powers normally associated with sovereign States. Yet, currently their regulation treats them as merely private entities. The Workshop will discuss the issues associated with private governance in space, the adequacy of the public-private divide, and the potential regulation of corporations that exercise quasi-sovereign powers, including by using concepts and mechanisms from public law, international law, and economic law. The Workshop is transdisciplinary and welcomes thought-provoking and exploratory papers from any relevant discipline, including papers building on indigenous perspectives.


The number of participants will be limited to twenty. The authors of the selected abstracts will be required to submit a draft paper 2,000-3,000 words one month before the event, and all the papers will be circulated to the Workshop participants. The participants will be expected to read all papers, and each will also serve as a designated commentator for one paper. At the Workshop, each paper will be the subject of a rigorous discussion and brainstorming, starting with the comments of the designated commentator, after which the floor will be opened for comments and discussion by all participants.

This format is designed to stimulate in-depth discussions, to provide authors with valuable expert feedback, and to allow participants to get acquainted in an informal setting.

The authors of a select few of the papers discussed at the Workshop will have the opportunity to publish them in a special journal issue. These authors will be invited to submit a revised version of their paper after the Workshop. Details will be provided at the Workshop.

The workshop will be in-person, if safety protocols at the time allow. Otherwise, the workshop will be conducted online via Zoom.

Submission of abstracts

Abstracts (maximum 300 words), along with a short biography (one paragraph), should be submitted no later than Sunday, November 4, 2022 via this link. Results will be announced on November 11, 2022. You may direct any inquires to

Equity, diversity, and inclusion

The Conveners are committed to equity and global engagement and strive to achieve excellence by ensuring diversity among the Workshop participants. The Conveners welcome submissions from junior scholars and students, members of visible minorities, women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities.

Fees and travel allowance

There is no registration fee. Limited funding will be available. Authors should indicate in the submission form if they require funding to attend the workshop and the Conveners will do their best to accommodate these requests.

Workshop organizers

  • Eytan Tepper, Laval University
  • Jean-Frédéric Morin, Laval University



  • Scott Shackelford, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Ram S. Jakhu, McGill University
  • Alexander W. Salter, Texas Tech University
  • Alexander Ezenagu, Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Christopher Whitehead, Auckland University of Technology
  • Bridget Fa'amatuainu, Auckland University of Technology


Host Institution

  • Erika Chamberlain, Western University
  • Sarah Gallagher, Western University
  • Valerie Oosterveld, Western University
  • Elizabeth Steyn, Western University