Brooklyn Journal of International Law

First Page



The concept of the Common Heritage of Mankind (CHM) remains uncertain and controversial. This article starts with an analysis of the legal status of the CHM to identify the legal subjects who can exercise rights to the CHM and what types of rights they have. It is argued that an exclusive property model is the one successfully implemented in the law of sea regime., i.e., the CHM is defined as an exclusive property of mankind. Mankind, as a separate entity, can have ownership over the CHM, while other entities can only exercise usufruct to the CHM. This article moves further to evaluate the feasibility of transplanting this model to other fields, in particular the space field. The legal status and characteristics of the CHM can only be justified by a multilateral approach, which sets up an international regime for exploitation and utilization of natural resources in outer space.