Airborne Effrontery: Dealing with an unwanted drone over-flight under Australian law

Peter Quinlivian, Senior Legal Counsel, BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Ltd, Australia

This paper surveys the existing laws in Australia which impact on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly called UAVs or ‘drones’). It considers the regulatory controls on the users of such aircraft, and then looks to what legal rights an enterprise might have in response to an unwanted impact of such use from the perspective of an in-house counsel. In particular, the paper considers privacy law, the availability of the torts of trespass, nuisance, negligence, and liability for personal injury and property damage caused by drones, as well as breach of confidence and intellectual property rights. The paper tests the application of well-established legal principles against possible scenarios involving this new technology and identifies areas where current laws need to catch up.

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Australia Regulation Industry March 2016 Vol. 9, No. 34, Winter 2016

Peter Quinlivian

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Peter Quinlivian is a commercial lawyer with more than twenty years’ experience in major projects, contracts, litigation and shipping law both in private practice and in-house in the mining, government and defence sectors. He currently is currently Senio

BAE Systems Australia Defence Pty Ltd

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BAE Systems Australia Limited is the Australian arm of a global defence contractor

Australia Regulation Industry March 2016 Vol. 9, No. 34, Winter 2016
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