• Vincent Maranda

Legal questions from Mars


Q. Your column is now widely read on our planet called Mars. We have legal questions we need answers to before landing on your territory on October 31st. Are you claiming legal ownership of our planet or the emptiness above it? Are the rumours true that Earthlings would be selling our land? Can we park our craft upon landing next to Your Local Journal? Who is our first contact person to speak to when we arrive?

A. First let me say I am truly honoured that your people chose me for legal advice. I hope to reassure you with my answers to your pertinent questions.

On the planet ownership question we have an organization here on earth called The United Nations where the majority of nations (including those who visit you) signed an “Outer space Treaty” initiated in 1967. That treaty states outer space is the province of all mankind and forbids all nations from claiming territorial sovereignty.

While ownership of empty space is a different issue it is still a form of asset called emptiness we use notably for travelling. The United Nations Outer Space Treaty reserves emptiness for the good of mankind, and expressly prohibits ownership of parcels of empty space, even around your planet.

One caveat though. Governments who did not sign these documents may dispute the UN's authority in this matter but they are not a very powerful voice in this subject and, in my opinion, pose no current threat to your planet.

The rumours of people ‘selling your land’ are true.

One Earthling has made money selling over 2 million plots of lunar land (the big astronomical object closest to our planet) for $19.95 each. Selling plots of Martian land and other extraterrestrial real estate is not recognized by any earthly government. The supposed legal documents or ‘Martian deeds’ that may exist out there are completely worthless. As a lawyer, I already foresee your next question – the answer is yes, we could explore claims you could make here on Earth to stop such sales of Martian land. We could also then explore making a damage claim for copyright infringement in regards to masks depicting your faces. Legal residency requirements for yourselves as plaintiffs could be worked out.

So…. the first person to contact on the day of your arrival is the mayor of the municipality where you land.

Under Section 42 of the Civil Protection Act of Quebec, the mayor may declare a state of emergency in all, or part, of its territory when there are certain situations (subject to interpretation) outside ‘normal operating rules’ and ‘applicable emergency preparedness plans.’ In my view your arrival could be construed as such a situation. In addition, a United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs spokesman (UNOOSA) would be tasked with coordinating humanity’s response when you arrive and would therefore undoubtedly attend your landing. Their plans are top secret but we respect their authority on extraterrestrial contact and relationships.

Landing next to the Your Local Journal office is not recommended since there are no designated parking spots for flying saucers or vehicles without Quebec registration. I recommend you land at the St. Lazare Aerodrome. Authorities would undoubtedly waive landing fees and compulsory flight permits as a gesture of goodwill. There is also a clubhouse nearby for relaxing. Peace officers, dressed in green, your official color, will be on the runway. I will also be there to offer chips and other earthly delicacies, without charge.

Thanks again for choosing our region for your base camp here on earth and hope to see you soon for Halloween.

Please send your questions to editor@yourlocaljournal.ca

Website of law office: vmaranda.com

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