Professor Brian F. Havel, director of the International Aviation Law Institute
, led the proposition team to victory in Barcelona on February 19 at the grand debate of the International Air Transport Association’s 2016 Legal Symposium.
Professor Havel's team, which carried the day by virtue of an e-poll of the audience members, argued in favor of the proposition that “this house believes there is no future for airspace sovereignty.” He was joined by Switzerland-based air transport consultant Andrew Charlton and Jones Day senior aviation lawyer Rebecca MacPherson. An audience e-poll taken before the debate favored the opposition side.
The opposition team, which defended traditional sovereignty as set out in article 1 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention), included IALI Foundation board member Professor Pablo Mendes de Leon, the director of IALI’s sister institute at Leiden University in the Netherlands. This was the first time that Professors Havel and Mendes de Leon faced each other publicly on the opposing sides of a major proposition of international aviation law.
The grand debate is the highlight of IATA’s prestigious legal symposium, now in its 19th year and regarded as the world’s leading forum for international aviation law and policy issues. This year’s grand debate was chaired by aviation lawyer Richard Gimblett of U.K.-based global law firm Holman Fenwick Willan.