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Joanne Wheeler



Joanne Wheeler

CMS London
Mitre House
160 Aldersgate Street
EC1A 4DD London, England

T +44 (0) 20 7367 3723
F +44 (0) 20 7367 2000

Joanne Wheeler is a Partner in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications team.

Joanne specialises in communications, satellite and space regulatory and policy matters, commercial contracts and PPPs. She represents operators, manufacturers, communications companies, financial institutions, governments and international institutions in all aspects of domestic, European and international (including ITU) communications and spectrum regulations and procedures and in all types of commercial contracts. 

She has been involved in various studies undertaken by governmental and intergovernmental agencies covering a variety of subjects from space debris issues to public private partnerships in satellite communications.  She has advised a Government body on recognised spectrum access and spectrum trading.  She also advised the UK Government’s Space Innovation and Growth Team on regulatory, legal, policy and finance issues in the space and satellite sector; this work is ongoing.  She is also one of the founders of the London Satellite Finance Network.

In addition to her private practice experience, Joanne has extensive and unique experience from her three years at the European Space Agency (ESA) in Paris and at the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom), where she was involved in drafting Ofcom’s ITU satellite filing procedures. She is on various panels and committees including the British Standards Institute Panel on space debris, the Advisory Board of the University College London satellite project and a member of the International Institute of Space Law. Joanne is also the Secretary of the UK branch of the European Centre for Space Law and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.  She has also been recently appointed to represent the UK at the Legal Subcommittee of the UN (UNCOPUOS) each year. 

Joanne has lectured on communications and satellite law topics at Queen Mary College, University of London, Leiden University, The Netherlands and the International Space University in Strasbourg.  She is a regular speaker at international communications and space conferences, has published several articles in international journals and has contributed chapters for several books on space and satellite topics.

Joanne is admitted to practice law in England and Wales and also in Scotland, where she is a notary public. Joanne holds degrees from the Universities of Aberdeen, Oxford and Rotterdam and a diploma in telecommunications from Queen Mary College, University of London.

According to clients, Joanne:

has “an acute understanding of the satellite industry from every angle – she engages proactively with telecoms companies and, importantly, knows the banking world just as well.” (Chambers 2009);

is an “outstanding satellite lawyer” with “excellent knowledge of regulations and policy, as well as the relevant technical and commercial issues.” (Chambers 2010)

Examples of relevant experience:

  • Advising entities including SES, Avanti, Inmarsat, O3b,  ComDev, exactEarth, Solaris Mobile, CapRock, UK Space Agency, Logica, BT, Colt, Cable and Wireless, BP, Secretary of State for Health (UK), and MetroPCS on national, European and international (including ITU) communications regulatory issues.
  • Negotiating and amending launch services, procurement and capacity sale agreements, including for Inmarsat, Avanti and 03b.
  • Advising various companies on dark fibre, data centre and fibre swap agreements.
  • Advising various companies on telecommunications equipment supply agreements.
  • Advising companies on arrangements for the receipt of satellite and data network services.
  • Advising on various telecommunications outsourcing agreements.
  • Advising on export control and sanctions issues and negotiating technical assistance agreements.
  • Advising on cable-crossing agreements and the decommissioning of sub-sea communications cables.
  • Advising on various PPP structures, drafting related agreements and advising on related regulatory aspects.
  • Advising on a variety of services agreements, including postal services agreements.