Statute of the Hague Conference on Private International Law

(Entered into force 15 July 1955)

The Governments of the countries hereinafter specified:

the German Federal Republic, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland;

In view of the permanent character of the Hague Conference on Private International Law;

Desiring to stress that character;

Having, to that end, deemed it desirable to provide the Conference with a Statute;

Have agreed upon the following provisions:

Article 1

The purpose of the Hague Conference is to work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law.

Article 2

Members of the Hague Conference on Private International Law are the States which have already participated in one or more Sessions of the Conference and which accept the present Charter.

Any other States the participation of which is from a juridical point of view of importance for the work of the Conference may become Members. The admission of new Members shall be decided upon by the Governments of the participating States upon the proposal of one or more of them, by a majority of the votes cast, within a period of six months from the date on which that proposal is submitted to the Governments.

The admission shall become definitive upon the acceptance of the present Statute by the State concerned.

Article 3

The Netherlands Standing Government Committee, instituted by the Royal Decree of February 20, 1897 with a view to promoting the codification of private international law, is in charge of the operation of the Conference.

Said Committee effectuates the operation by means of a Permanent Bureau the activities of which it directs.

It shall examine all proposals intended to be placed on the agenda of the Conference. It shall be free to determine the action to be taken on such proposals.

The Standing Government Committee shall, after consultation with the Members of the Conference, determine the date and the agenda of the Sessions.

It shall address itself to the Government of the Netherlands for the convocation of the Members.

The Ordinary Sessions of the Conference shall, in principle, be held every four years.

If necessary, the Standing Government Committee may, with the approval of the Members, request the Government of the Netherlands to convene the Conference in Sessions Extraordinary.

Article 4

The Permanent Bureau shall have its seat at The Hague. It shall be composed of a Secretary General and two Secretaries of different nationalities, who shall be appointed by the Government of the Netherlands upon presentation by the Standing Government Committee.

The Secretary General and the Secretaries must possess appropriate legal knowledge and practical experience.

The number of Secretaries may be increased after consultation with the Members of the Conference.

Article 5

Under the direction of the Standing Government Committee the Permanent Bureau shall be charged with:

  • the preparation and organization of the Sessions of the Hague Conference and the meeting of the Special Commissions;
  • the work of the Secretariat of the Sessions and meetings envisaged above;
  • all the tasks which are included in the activity of a secretariat.

Article 6

With a view to facilitating communication between the Members of the Conference and the Permanent Bureau, the Government of each of the Members shall designate a national office.

The Permanent Bureau may correspond with all the national offices so designated and with the competent international organizations.

Article 7

The Conference and, in the interval between Sessions, the Standing Government Committee, may set up Special Committees to prepare draft conventions or to study all questions of private international law which come within the purpose of the Conference.

Article 8

The expenses of the operation and maintenance of the Permanent Bureau and Special Committees shall be apportioned among the Members of the Conference, with the exception of the travelling and living expenses of the Delegates to the Special Committees, which expenses shall be payable by the Governments represented.

Article 9

The budget of the Permanent Bureau and the Special Committees shall be submitted each year to the Members’ Diplomatic Representatives at The Hague for approval.

These Representatives shall also apportion among the Members the expenses which are charged in that budget to the latter.

The Diplomatic Representatives shall meet for such purposes under the chairmanship of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Article 10

The expenses resulting from the regular Sessions of the Conference shall be borne by the Government of the Netherlands.

In case of special Sessions, the expenses shall be apportioned among the Members of the Conference who are represented at the Session.

In any case, the travelling and living expenses of the Delegates shall be payable by their respective Governments.

Article 11

The usages of the Conference shall continue to be observed on all points, unless contrary to the present Statute or to the Regulations.

Article 12

Amendments to the present Statute may be made if they are approved by two-thirds of the Members.

Article 13

To provide for their execution, the provisions of the present Charter will be complemented by Regulations. The Regulations shall be established by the Permanent Bureau and submitted to the Governments of the Members for approval.

Article 14

The present Statute shall be submitted for acceptance to the Governments of States which participated in one or more Sessions of the Conference. It shall enter into force as soon as it is accepted by the majority of the States represented at the Seventh Session.

The statement of acceptance shall be deposited with the Netherlands Government, which shall make it known to the Governments referred to in the first paragraph of this article. The same shall apply, in the case of the admission of a new State, to the statement of acceptance of that State.

Article 15

Each Member may denounce the present Statute after a period of five years from the date of its entry into force under the terms of Article 14, paragraph 1.

Notice of the denunciation shall be given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands at least six months before the expiration of the budgetary year of the Conference, and shall become effective at the expiration of the said year, but only with respect to the Member which has given notice thereof.

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