Mr Osita Dominic Okoli

Research project: "Sieving a Legal Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space from Customary international law: a Critical Study"


Territory, at least for the purpose of exercise of jurisdiction, remains a basic attribute of states. This is because it represents the identifiable geographical areas where states can exercise acts of sovereignty exclusively from each other. States' territories include the very land they are on, the waters on the said lands, as well as the seas separating them from other states- as permitted under international law. The territory of states also extends skyward to the airspace above them but, never to the outer space which is a separate territory belonging to the entire humankind that begins where the airspace ends.

 Where the outer space begins and what it means definitively, have not been commonly/legally agreed to by states, juridical writers among others. Indeed, treaty, judicial decisions etc as sources of international law, have not yielded their influence to legally/commonly define and delimit the outer space. This is apparently due to a lack of political will to do so by states, generally. The concomitant effect is that outer space- what it means and where it starts from the airspace- has largely remained malleable. If this state of affairs is left to rule unchecked, it has the potential to breed confusion and anarchy as more states and private sectors participate in space activities, not to mention the ever-increasing advancements in space technologies, among others.

 Generally, customary international law creates binding obligations on states especially where treaty and other sources of international law are deficient. This study contends that a critical examination of relevant practices which states observe as legally binding on them can reveal the existence of customary international law regarding the legal definition and delimitation of outer space. This study thus continues to critically examine the opinio juris-backed practices of states in seeking for a legal/common definition and delimitation of outer space.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: "Sieving a Legal Definition and Delimitation of Outer Space from Customary international law: a Critical Study"
  • Research supervisor: Dr Damian Bielicki
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Philip Harris


I graduated from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State of Nigeria with a degree in law: LL.B. (Hons), in 2011. I also graduated from the Nigerian Law School Abuja Campus in 2012. As a result, I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2012 as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. I later practiced law in the leading law firm of Ifeanyichukwu Obiakor & Co. 

In 2016, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, United Kingdom, awarded me a distinction in International Commercial Law after completing an LLM program. I went back to Nigeria where I consulted for the prestigious law firms of B.S. Nwankwo, SAN & Co, and Agozie Muotoh & Co, aside from other Research Assistant roles I undertook. I am also among the directors of Gosife Multilinks Global Ltd, a company concerned with international trade and investment. I have some publications to my credit. 

Areas of research interest

  • Space Law
  • Public International Law
  • International Commercial Law
  • Arbitration
  • Jurisprudence
  • Customary Law
  • Shipping and Maritime Law
  • Nigerian Legal System and Practice
  • Corporate Law and Corporate Governance
  • European Trade Law


  • Master of Laws in International Commercial Law, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Bachelor at Law, Nigerian Law School, Abuja Campus, Nigeria
  • Bachelor of Laws, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria
  • Member, Nigerian Bar Association
  • Associate Fellow Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), (in view)

Funding or awards received

  • Award of £500 for Graduate Research Activity Support Funding (2022)


1. Osita Dominic Okoli and Somto David Ojukwu, 'A Critical Appraisal of the Right to Self Determination Under International Law' (2021) 12(1) Nnamdi Azikiwe University Journal of International Law and Jurisprudence 127. Available at