Institute Director, Ken Oliphant, has been nominated by the Austrian Government to participate in the European Commission's experts discussion forum on Extra-Contractual Liability for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Two such systems - which may be used (eg) in aircraft and cars, and for the dissemination of commercial data - are currently being developed under the auspices of the EU. The risk of damage caused by the malfunctioning of such systems cannot be excluded, and it is foreseeable that claims could be lodged against the European Community as owner or operator of the infrastructure, or against manufacturers of satellite components or GNSS devices. The twin objectives of the legal regime to be applied to such claims should be to guarantee the prompt and adequate compensation of victims and at the same time to secure the economic model of the EU GNSS by making it possible for potential defendants to predict the liability regime applicable and so to prepare in advance to meet any consequent financial obligations.
The discussion forum will meet in Brussels several times in September and October 2009.