Hague Conference on Private International Law

The Hague Conference on Private International Law (or HCCH, for Hague Conference/Conférence de la Haye) is the preeminent organisation in the area of private international law.

Since its formation in 1893, the purpose of HCCH has been to "work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law". It has pursued this goal by creating and assisting in the implementation of multilateral conventions promoting the harmonisation of conflict of laws principles in diverse subject matters within private international law. Sixty-five nations are currently members of the Hague Conference, including China, Russia, the United States, and all member states of the European Union.

Recent developments

The 20th Diplomatic Session of the Conference, held from 14 to 28 June 2005, saw two major developments.

First, the statute of the Conference was amended (for the first time in over 50 years) to expand the possibility of membership to Regional Economic Integration Organisations such as the European Union. Second, the Conference concluded and opened for ratification the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements, a project which had been in negotiation for nearly 15 years. States applying this instrument agree to recognize and enforce decisions reached by courts of another signatory State if the dispute was governed by a valid choice of court agreement concluded between the parties to the dispute.

Work-in-Progressndash The Hague Securities Convention

In July 2006 Switzerland and the United States jointly signed the Hague Securities Convention, providing legal certainty to modern forms of holding and transferring securities. This marked an important step in the development of the new legal infrastructure needed to match modern systems for the holding, transfer, and pledge of securities.

The vast quantity of securities are nowadays held, transferred, and pledged by electronic entries to accounts with clearing and settlement systems and other intermediaries, rather than directly in physical form or directly by issuers. The global financial market, which for the OECD countries alone has a volume of more than $2 billion US a day, is in need of a legal regime that deals effectively with this new reality. There is broad agreement in the financial world that the traditional legal rules, based on physical transfers and direct holdings, are too diverse, out-dated, and inadequate. The result is legal uncertainty, increased risk, and higher costs for global clearing and settlement, with repercussions at all levels of the global financial market.

The Hague Securities Convention ensures that there is a clear and certain answer to questions such as which law governs the determination of the legal nature of the rights resulting from a credit of securities to a securities account, the steps required for a transfer or pledge of securities to such accounts to be enforceable among the parties and third parties, and the steps required to realise a pledge of securities credited to such accounts.

The European Commission at the same time concluded that "adoption of the Convention would be in the best interest of the Community" and recommended that the Convention "be signed after or with at least two of its main trading partners, the USA included." [http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=events.details&year=2006&varevent=117]

Members

* Albania
* Argentina
* Australia
* Austria
* Belarus
* Belgium
* Bosnia and Herzegovina
* Brazil
* Bulgaria
* Canada
* Chile
* China
* Croatia
* Cyprus
* Czech Republic
* Denmark
* Ecuador
* Egypt
* Estonia
* European Community
* Finland
* France
* Georgia
* Germany
* Greece
* Hungary
* Iceland
* India
* Ireland
* Israel
* Italy
* Japan
* Jordan
* Latvia
* Lithuania
* Luxembourg
* Malaysia
* Malta
* Mexico
* Monaco
* Montenegro
* Morocco
* Netherlands
* New Zealand
* Norway
* Panama
* Paraguay
* Peru
* Poland
* Portugal
* Republic of Korea
* Romania
* Russian Federation
* Serbia
* Slovak Republic
* Slovenia
* South Africa
* Spain
* Sri Lanka
* Suriname
* Sweden
* Switzerland
* the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
* Turkey
* Ukraine
* United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
* United States of America
* Uruguay
* Venezuela

The Permanent Bureau

Located in a nice old mansion on Scheveningseweg near the Peace Palace, the Permanent Bureau is the Conference's secretariat.

Composition of the Permanent Bureau:

Secretary General
Mr J.H.A. (Hans) van Loon

Attaché to the Secretary General
Ms Frederike Stikkelbroeck

Deputy Secretary General
Mr William Duncan

First Secretaries
Mr Christophe Bernasconi
Mr Philippe Lortie

Secretary at the Permanent Bureau
Ms Marta Pertegás

Principal Legal Officer
Ms Jennifer Degeling

Senior Legal Officer
Ms Marion Ely

Legal Officers
Ms Mayela Celis
Ms Ivana Radic
Ms Sandrine Alexandre
Ms Juliane Hirsch
Ms Laurence Marquis
Ms Eimear Long

Liaison Legal Officer for Latin America
Mr Ignacio Goicoechea

Adoption Programme Co-ordinator
Ms Laura Martinez-Mora

Senior Administrator
Ms Céline Chateau

Website Manager
Ms Gerda Boerman

Financial Officer
Ms Karin Himpens

Administrative Assistants
Ms Christine Bosman Delzons (Administrative Assistant to the Secretary General)
Ms Willy de Zoete (Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Secretary General)
Ms Laura Molenaar
Ms Mathilde Waszink
Ms Hélène Guérin
Ms Sophie Molina (Administrative Assistant for the Adoption Programme)

Revisers / Editors
Ms Sarah Adam
Ms Christelle Gavard

Spanish-speaking Translator / Reviser
Ms Lucía Castrillón Díaz

Information Management Assistant
Ms Marie-Charlotte Darbas

General Service Officer
Mr Willem van der Endt

See also

*List of Hague Conventions on Private International Law
*Place of the Relevant Intermediary Approach

External links

* [http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php Hague Conference on Private International Law] - official website:- [http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=states.listing The Members of the Hague Conference on Private International Law]
* [http://www.incadat.com/ INCADAT: the International Child Abduction Database] - official website

* [http://writ.news.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=/commentary/20010927_sprigman.html "Why the Hague Convention on jurisdiction threatens to strangle e-commerce and Internet free speech"] , by Chris Sprigman


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