A new method is described for determining the volume of the aqueous compartment of liposomes. Liposomes are prepared in a solution of the fluorescent dye, calcein. The fraction of the total volume that is within the liposomes is obtained as the fraction of the fluorescence that remains after adding cobalt(II) ions which, when chelated by calcein, quench its fluorescence. The method is rapid, simple and accurate. Separation of the liposomes from the medium is not required. The procedure is equally well suited to the assay of permeability characteristics of liposomal membranes.