Dr Cassandra Steer

Lecturer
B.A. (UNSW); mr. (Universiteit van Amsterdam); LLM (Universiteit van Amsterdam); PhD (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

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Biography

Dr. Cassandra Steer is a Mission Specialist with the ANU Institute of Space (InSpace), and a lecturer at the College of Law specialising in space law, space security and international law. Dr. Steer has more than a decade of international experience teaching at universities in Australia, Europe, North America and South America, and brings a comparative perspective to all her research and teaching.

Dr. Steer was formerly Acting Executive Director at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Ethics and Rule of Law, where her major focus was the design and delivery of a high level international conference on “The Weaponization of Outer Space: Ethical and Legal Boundaries”. Previously she has held positions as Executive Director of Women in International Security - Canada, Executive Director of the McGill Institute of Air and Space Law, and Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam. She has a degree in philosophy (UNSW); undergraduate and Masters degrees in law and a PhD in International Criminal Law., all from the University of Amsterdam. In 2011 Dr Steer was a Fulbright Scholar at Cornell Law School, and she has been a Visiting Scholar at McGill Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia Law School, and the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires.

From her background in State responsibility, international criminal law and international humanitarian law, Dr. Steer became a specialist in international space law, particularly interested in how technology has changed the way international relations and wars are conducted. Her current research focuses on space security, including space situational awareness and space traffic management, and the application of the law of armed conflict and use of force in outer space. She has also been a consultant to military lawyers in the Canadian Judge Advocate General’s Office and to the U.S. Department of Defense on these issues.

Dr. Steer is the Canadian representative member on the International Law Association Space Law Committee, an Associate Expert on the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations, and a member of the International Institute of Space Law.

Appointments

  • Lecturer, ANU College of Law (present)
  • Senior Non-Resident Fellow, Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School (2019-present)
  • Executive Director, Women in International Security-Canada (2015-2017, 2019)
  • Consultant, Space Strategies Consulting Ltd (2019)
  • Acting Executive Director, Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School (2018)
  • Junior Wainwright Fellow, McGill Faculty of Law (2017)
  • Arsenault Fellow, McGill Institute of Air and Space Law (2015-2016)
  • Executive Director, McGill Centre for Research in Air and Space Law (2015)
  • Assistant Professor, University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law (2008-2014)
  • Fulbright Fellow, Cornell Law School (2011)
  • Lecturer, University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law (2006-2008)
  • Legal Researcher, Raad van State (Netherlands Counsel of State) (2006)
  • Intern, Appeals Chamber, International Criminal Court (2004)

Significant research publications

Books

  • “Translating Guilt: Leadership Liability for Mass Atrocity Crimes”, Springer/Asser, 2017
  • “War and Peace in Outer Space: Ethics, Law and Policy”, co-editor with Matthew Hersch, Assisted by Kiernan McClelland, edited volume, Oxford University Press, (forthcoming 2020)
  • “Feminist Perspectives on International Security”, co-editor with Caroline Leprince, edited volume, McGill Queen’s University Press, (forthcoming 2020)

Book Chapters

  • International Humanitarian Law and its Application in Outer Space, (co-authored with Dale Stephens) in: Cassandra Steer and Matthew Hersch (ed.s) “War and Peace in Outer Space: Ethics, Law and Policy”, Oxford University Press, (forthcoming 2020)
  • Sources of International Space Law, in: Paul S. Dempsey and Ram S. Jakhu (ed.s) “Handbook of Space Law” (Routledge, 2017)
  • Legal Transplants or Legal Patchworking? The Creation of International Criminal Law as a Pluralistic Body of Law, in: Elies van Sliedregt and Sergey Vasiliev (ed.s) “Legal Pluralism in International Criminal Law” (Oxford University Press, 2014

Articles

  • Who Has the Power? A Critical Perspective on Space Governance and New Entrants to the Space Sector, Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, volume 48 issue 3
  • Global Commons, Cosmic Commons: Implications of Military and Security Uses of Outer Space, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 18:1 (Spring 2017)

Recent news

20
Apr
2020
Cassandra Steer
Dr Cassandra Steer is a lecturer at ANU College of Law.

In the Media

26
Oct
2020
Cassandra Steer quoted in The Space Review
14
Oct
2020
Cassandra Steer interviewed by ABC Radio
31
Jul
2020
Cassandra Steer writes in The Canberra Times
3
Jun
2020
Cassandra Steer cited in The Daily: 2SER

Past events

24
Jul
2020
ANU Space Situational Awareness collaboration workshop
9.30AM to 11.30AM Workshop

We would like to invite you to collaborate with us on an exciting new research centre. Your field of research touches on one of our themes, and we are seeking creative input and pathways for collaboration that could lead to new funding opportunities for your work.

17
Jun
2020
Law in the Stars
1.00PM to 2.00PM ANU College of Law Research Seminar
  • Dr Cassandra Steer

Join Dr Cassandra Steer in this virtual research seminar where she talks about the benefits of incorporating Australian Indigenous knowledge into space governance. 

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.

Research biography

Dr. Steer's specialism in space law and space security are founded on her commitment to restraining the behaviour of States and individuals in times of international tension and conflict. Origianlly focused only on military uses of space, deterrence in space, and the application of the use of force and the law of armed conflict in outer space, her research in space security writ large now encompasses space traffic management and space situational awareness. Her works in progress include critical analsyses of the international space law and space governance regimes, and the development of the notion of "good space citizenry". She is a Mission Specialist with InSpace, (the Anu Institue for Space).

Her background in public international law is also expressed in her masters and doctoral research on international and individual responsibility for mass atrocity arising in times of conflict. She has published on many issues of public international law and international criminal law, including her book "Translating Guilt: Leadership Responsibility for Mass Atrocity Crimes", which undertook a thorough comparative analysis of domestic and international modes of leadership liability, and formed a unique theory of international criminal law as comparative law in action.

Dr. Steer is the member for Canada on the International Law Association Space Law Committee, an Associate Expert on the Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations, and in 2019 she led the International Space Policy sub-group of the Space Policy Commitee of the Canadian Space Society. Dr. Steer is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, an Associate Fellow of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, and a member of the International Institute of Space Law, Women in Aerospace, the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies, and the NATO Association of Canada.

Research projects & collaborations

  • Principal Investigator: Canadian Department of National Defence IDEaS project: “Proactive Deterrence”, in collaboration with Space Strategies Consulting Ltd and OODA Technologies (2019)
  • Principal Investigator, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant; “The Next Generation of Women Leaders in International Security”, in collaboration with Women in International Security-Canada, the Canadian Department of National Defence, McGill University Faculty of Law,and Queen's University Department of Political Science (2017)
  • Co-applicant and author, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Development Grant; “A Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Activities in Outer Space”, 2016-2019

Grants

  • Principal Investigator, Department of National Defence IDEaS Funding, “A New Framework for Space Deterrence”, 2019
  • Co-applicant and author, Department of National Defence Engagement Programme, “Securing Outer Space: Ethical Governance for Outer Space Security”, 2018
  • Principal Investigator, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant; “The Next Generation of Women Leaders in International Security”, 2017
  • Co-applicant, Department of National Defence Engagement Programme, “The Next Generation of Women Leaders in International Security”, 2017
  • Co-applicant and author, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Development Grant; “A Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Activities in Outer Space”, 2016-2019
  • Author, Department of National Defence Engagement Programme, “Supporting a Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Activities in Outer Space”, 2016
  • Co-applicant and author, Department of National Defence Engagement Programme, “Expert Roundtable on the Law Applicable to Military Activities in Outer Space”, 2015

Consultancies

  • Principal Investigator: Department of National Defence IDEaS project: “Proactive Deterrence”, with Space Strategies Consulting Ltd (2019)
  • Moderator: Space Security and Defence Policy Symposium, Canadian Space Summit, Ottawa (November 2018)
  • Associate Expert: Woomera Manual on the International Law of Military Space Operations (2018-2020)
  • Space Law Expert: Halifax International Security Forum (2018)
  • Invited Expert: U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-layer Assessment: Contested Space Operations (2017-2018)
  • Space Law Expert: University of Pennsylvania Center for Ethics and Rule of Law; “The Weaponization of Outer Space: Ethical and Legal Boundaries”, conference design (2017-2018)
  • Consultant: Canadian Department of National Defence Judge Advocate General’s Office; “The Use of Force in Outer Space” (2017)
  • Associate Expert: Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Activities in Outer Space (MILAMOS), (2015-2018)

Books & edited collections

  • “War and Peace in Outer Space: Ethics, Law and Policy”, co-editor with Matthew Hersch, edited volume, Oxford University Press, (forthcoming, 2020)
  • “Feminist Perspectives on International Security”, co-editor with Caroline Leprince, edited volume, McGill Queen’s University Press, (forthcoming, 2020)
  • “Translating Guilt: Leadership Liability for Mass Atrocity Crimes”, Springer/Asser, 2017

     

Book chapters

  • International Humanitarian Law and its Application to Space Warfare, (co-authored with Dale Stephens) in: Cassandra Steer and Matthew Hersch (ed.s), “War and Peace in Outer Space: Ethics, Law and Policy", Oxford University Press, (forthcoming, 2020)
  • Sources of International Space Law, in: Paul S. Dempsey and Ram S. Jakhu (ed.s) “Handbook of Space Law” (Routledge, 2017)
  • Legal Transplants or Legal Patchworking? The Creation of International Criminal Law as a Pluralistic Body of Law, in: Elies van Sliedregt and Sergey Vasiliev (ed.s) “Legal Pluralism in International Criminal Law” (Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • The Prosecutor v. Delic: What Are The Limits of Command Responsibility?, in: André Klip and Goran Sluiter (ed.s) ‘Annotated Leading Cases of International Criminal Tribunals’ (Intersentia, The Hague, 2014)
  • Ranking Responsibility? Why we Should Differentiate Between Participants in Mass Atrocity Crimes, in: D. Abels, M.M. Dolman & K.C.J. Vriend (eds.), ‘Dialectiek van Nationaal en Internationaal Strafrecht’ (Boom Juridische Uitgevers, The Hague, 2013)
  • Non-State Actors in International Criminal Law, in: Jean d’Aspremont (ed.) ‘Participants in the International Legal Order’, (Routledge, London, 2011)

Refereed journal articles

  • Global Commons, Cosmic Commons: Implications of Military and Security Uses of Outer Space, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 18:1 (Spring 2017)
  • Conflicts in Outer Space and the Rule of Law, co-authored with Ram Jakhu and Kuan-Wei (David) Chen, Zeitschrift für Luft- und Weltraumrecht (Fall 2017)

Conference papers & presentations

  • Who Has the Power? A Critical Perspective on Space Governance and New Entrants to the Space Sector, Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, volume 48 issue 3 (forthcoming)
  • The Use Of Space Technology Export Controls As A Bargaining Solution For Sustainability: A Chicago Convention Model Of Space Governance, co-authored with Gilles Doucet, 2017 Proceedings of the International Institute of Space Law (Eleven International Publishing, The Hague, 2018)
  • Avoiding Legal Black Holes: International Humanitarian Law Applied To Conflicts In Outer Space, in: 2015 Proceedings of the International Institute of Space Law, (Eleven International Publishing, The Hague, 2016)

Commissioned reports

  • "Why outer Space Matters for National and International Security", Report for the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, (2020)

  • “The (Non-) Application of International Law by the ILO Administrative Tribunal: Possible Legal Avenues for Establishing Responsibility”, Report for the International Commission of Jurists, co-authored with Vincent Böhre, Sophia von Dewall, Ingeborg Middel, (2004)

Government submissions

  • Invited Expert: U.S. Department of Defense Strategic Multi-layer Assessment: Contested Space Operations (2017-2018)
  • Consultant: Canadian Department of National Defence Judge Advocate General’s Office; “The Use of Force in Outer Space” (2017)

Committees

External Organisations

  • Representative for Canada, International Law Association Space Law Committee (2016- present)
  • Lead, International Policy Sub-Committee, Space Policy Committee, Canadian Space Society (2019)
  • Halifax "Peace With Women Fellowship" Selection Committee, Halifax International Security Forum (2018)
  • Advisory Board Member, Inter Gentes Journal of International Law and Legal Pluralism (2016 - present)
  • Advisory Board Member, Chinese Journal of Comparative Law

Case notes & book reviews

  • Book review, "Astro Reality, by Roy Sachs", McGill Annals of Air and Space Law (2015)
  • Annotated case notes for Oxford Reports on International Criminal Law:
    • Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Confirmation of Charges; ICL 892 (ICC 2007)
    • Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Judgment; ICL 910 (ICC 2012)

Other

Op-eds

PhD supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • Public International Law
  • Space Law
  • Comparative Law
  • International Criminal Law

 

SJD supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • Public International Law
  • Space Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • Comparative Law

 

MPhil supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • Space Law and Space Policy
  • Public International Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Comparative Politics
  • Criminal Law Theory

 

LLM Masters thesis supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • Public International Law
  • Space Law
  • Comparative Law
  • International Criminal Law

I have previously supervised:

  • Public International Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law of the Netherlands
  • Comparative Criminal Law

 

Honours thesis supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • Public International Law
  • Space Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • Comparative Criminal Law

I have previously supervised:

  • International Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law of the Netherlands
  • Comparative Criminal Law

 

Internship supervision

I am willing to supervise in the areas:

  • Space Law
  • Women in international peace and security

I have previously supervised:

  • Women in international peace and security

 

Philosophy & approach

My teaching philosophy is built on three beliefs; (1) that classrooms should be student-focused and interactive; (2) that time in the class should be geared towards critical discussions; (3) that students learn best through directed enquiry, as opposed to lecturing or "downloading" information.

Past courses

Law

  • Masters Intensive in International Criminal Law, University of Adelaide, 2016 and 2019
  • Advanced Civil Law Obligations, McGill Faculty of Law, 2017
  • Legal Research Design and Methods, University of Amsterdam, 2014
  • Criminal Law, University of Amsterdam, 2008-2014
  • Criminal Procedure, University of Amsterdam, 2009-2013
  • Comparative Criminal Law, University of Amsterdam, 2013
  • Legal Research Methods, University of Amsterdam, 2012
  • Introduction to International Humanitarian Law, University of Amsterdam, 2012
  • Conflict Resolution and Legal Sociology, University of Amsterdam, 2007
  • Law and Legal Processes, University of Amsterdam, 2006

Political Science

  • International Relations and Political Theory, McGill Department of Political Science, 2016
  • Law and Courts in Europe, McGill Department of Political Science, 2016

How my works connects with public policy

Space law and space policy are nascent fields in Australia, and are fields at the cusp of enourmous change internationally. I have consulted directly for the U.S. and Canadian Departments of Defence, and also led a multidisciplinary team of experts on a project funded by the Canadian Department of Defence. These are direct feedback loops with government in the formation of defence policy.

As a Mission Specialist with InSpace, i have the opportunity to work with world class experts in space research, space technologies, space surveillance and more. InSpace works collaboratively with the Australian Space Agency (ASA) on many issues as the ASA seeks to develop its policies and funding allocation.

My work with Women in International Security-Canada was also focused on impacting policies in government, academia and civil society organisations, by profiling the work and careers of women in the field of international peace and security, and by advocating for the mainstreaming of gender issues. The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security forms the basis of much of this work, and we collaborated with the Women, Peace and Security Network (WPSN) on the Canadian National Action Plan for implementation of this resolution. We had occasion to speak candidly with top ranking women in the Canadian military, and we paired junior women seeking to work in this field with mentors in various sectors related to this field.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team