On Thursday 23 November 2017, the offices of Carter Lemon Cameron, the Barbican-based law firm, was the setting for the public launch of a new book on drone law. Titled ‘A Practical Guide to Drone Law’ and published by Law Brief Publishing, it was put together by Rufus Ballaster, a commercial property lawyer, Andrew Firman, a corporate and commercial lawyer, and Eleanor Clot, a trainee solicitor. Of course those well versed with the history of the UK drone industry will recognise the last surname.
The authors have targeted the book at both lawyers as well as drone operators and their advisers. It opens with a review of current regulations and then delves into other legal matters. For those who are familiar with the legal aspects of commercial drone operations much of the early material is straight out of a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) Theoretical Knowledge course provided by most NQEs. It’s from Chapter 5 onwards that the discourse becomes a little more interesting delving into the areas of property ownership, trespass, negligence, nuisance, contract and other damage claims. These are grey areas at the best of times and Chapters 5 and 6, all 18 pages of it, unfortunately only skim the surface.
In summary, this is a reference book that new drone industry entrants could be wise to familiarise themselves with especially as there are many legal issues the CAA does not regulate and leaves to others. It’s probably not essential reading but borrowing a copy is recommended. For those of us in the drone industry having to address the legal issues on the ground daily, this book only gives us a glimpse of some of the more intangible legal ramifications. It might be interesting in any future court case whether the presiding judge actually refers to this book. He or she might as a starter for 10.