Drafting The Woomera Manual


The Woomera Manual follows in the footsteps of, inter alia, the Oxford Manual, the San Remo Manual, the Harvard Manual and the Tallinn Manuals. Importantly, in the tradition of these manuals, it will maintain a strict focus on the law as it is (lex lata), not on the law as we might wish it to be (lex ferenda). The latter is more appropriate for official, intergovernmental efforts in drafting new international instruments. Yet, it is unlikely that the diverse interests of States in the current geo-political environment will coalesce around any new international instruments on space security. For that reason, we consider a strict focus on lex lata to be essential.


The Woomera Manual gathers together legal experts specialised in the fields of international space law, international law on the use of force and the law of armed conflict, together with technical experts. Experts contribute in a personal capacity on the basis of their own conclusions as to the state of the law, independent of the official position or preference of any State or organisation.

Rule-drafting process

The rules set forth in The Woomera Manual are succinct statements of international law in a military space context. A Commentary accompanying each Rule expands on its interpretation, discusses difficult issues of application, and often provides examples or scenarios as a means of clarification.

Experts came together over a series of workshops to discuss the applicable law and to undertake initial drafting. However, most of the work in finalising the rules and commentary was undertaken by the Editorial Board that occurred following these workshops. In undertaking their work, the Editorial Board also had special regard to the specific input of States (principally via the State Consultation process that took place in The Hague) as well as the contributions that were made through the valuable peer review process.