29 July 2015

Drone operators risk regulatory enquiries for misdemeanours

Drone operators are exposed to the possibility of inquiries by the police, privacy bodies, health and safety authorities and aviation authorities, according to law firm RPC.

By Neasa MacErlean

While many of the drone encounters reported aren't malicious, they highlight potential security vulnerabilities Ivan Smuk

Predicting that the drone sector 'will become a multi-billion dollar industry in the next 5-10 years', UK-based RPC is warning that operators are already at risk of a range of penalties and regulatory inquiries if they do not comply with the various laws and rules that are being put in place. 

High burden of care

Phil Tansley, a senior associate in RPC's Tech and Cyber Insurance team, says of the potential exposure for personal injury and damage to third party property: 'Whilst the majority of reported incidents have been minor ones resulting in property damage, reported incidents of unauthorised use near airports and in commercial airspace show that drones can potentially give rise to very significant liabilities. Typically, claims will be brought in negligence and involve the establishment of liability in a similar way to any other tort claim. However, the burden of care on a drone operator will be high so, unless there are unusual circumstances or the injured party is at fault, liability is likely following an incident.'


Drones are a main theme of the newly-launched Robotics Law Journal. If you would like free access to a copy of the first issue, please email the editor at: neasamacerlean@globalcitymedia.com

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