What is Metalaw?

According to Dr. Ernst Fasan, Metalaw is “the entire sum of legal rules regulating relationships between different races in the universe.” Metalaw is the “first and basic ‘law’ between races” providing the ground rules for a relationship if and when we establish communication with or encounter another intelligent race in the universe. Dr. Fasan envisioned these rules as governing both human conduct and that of extraterrestrial races so as to avoid mutually harmful activities.

Metalaw and First Contact/Post-Detection Issues


The Rio Scale for quantifying the significance of a SETI detection (IAA SETI Permanent Study Group)
A Contrarian Perspective on Altruism: the Dangers of First Contact
Ten Decisions That Could Shake the World
IAA Position paper: Sending Communications to Extraterrestrial Civilizations (2007 revision)


Ernst Fasan, Legal Consequences of a SETI Detection, Acta Astronautica 42 (10-12) (1998) 677-679

Ernst Fasan, Discovery of ETI:  Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Legal Implications, Acta Astronautica 21 (2) (1990) 131-135

J. Billingham, Cultural Aspects of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Acta Astronautica 42 (10-12) (1998) 711-719

A.A. Cocca, Legal Science as Catalyzer of SETI Science, Engineering and Operations, Acta Astronautica 42 (10-12) (1998) 671-675

A.E. Goodman, Diplomacy and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), Acta Astronautica 21 (2) (1990) 137-141

V. Kopal, International Law Implications of the Detection of Extraterrestrial Intelligent Signals, Acta Astronautica 21 (2) (1990) 123-126

G.C.M. Reijnen, Basic Elements of an International Terrestrial Reply Following the Detection of a Signal from Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Acta Astronautica 21 (2) (1990) 143-148