Space Law Legend Isabella Diederiks-Verschoor Dies at 102

Space Law Legend Isabella Diederiks-Verschoor Dies at 102

The International Institute of Space Law (IISL) said today that Prof. Dr. Isabella Diederiks-Verschoor passed away yesterday.  She was 102.

Diederiks-Verschoor was one of the founders of the field of space law and of IISL.  She was IISL’s President from 1973-1990.

Prof. Dr. Isabella Diederiks-Verschoor (1915-2017). Photo credit: International Institute of Space Law website.

As recounted in a history of the IISL by Steven Doyle, immediately after the launch of Sputnik in October 1957, Andrew Haley, soon to become President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), proposed creation of a committee of lawyers and physicists to define the regions of jurisdiction between air and space.  The first colloquium on space law was subsequently held in 1958 in The Hague.  It led to creation of the IISL, originally as part of the IAF (it is now a separate entity).

At the time, Diederiks-Verschoor was a professor of air law at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and was one of the experts who presented a paper at that first colloquium.  She continued to be active in the field for many decades.

Her legacy is remembered today through the IISL Diederiks-Verschoor award.  It is presented by the Board of Directors each year for the best paper accepted for presentation at the annual IISL colloquium by an author not older than 30 years and who has not published more than five papers in the IISL proceedings.

IISL posted a tribute to her on its website.

Note:  This article was updated with the link to the IISL tribute to Dr. Diedericks-Verschoor on its website, posted today (October 19), which goes into much more detail about her professional accomplishments and sweet personality than the brief statement on the LinkedIn page cited previously.



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