Members of the UNCITRAL National Co-ordinating Committee for Australia were delighted to host Dr Christophe Bernasconi, Secretary-General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, for lunch on Thursday 29 September 2016 in Sydney, Australia.
About Dr Bernasconi
As Secretary-General, Dr Bernasconi is responsible for the administration of the Hague Conference and the operation of its Permanent Bureau. He has long-standing expertise in the field of international civil procedural law (jurisdiction of courts, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, service of process and taking of evidence abroad, access to justice, etc.), international administrative cooperation, international commercial and finance law (intermediated securities), as well as international child protection law (parental child abduction, protection of children generally).
He has been responsible for various meetings of Special Commissions, Experts' and Working Groups, both in relation to normative work of the Hague Conference and post-Convention services.
His current focus is on developing and implementing various management improvement initiatives at the Permanent Bureau, and on furthering the global visibility of the Hague Conference.
About the Hague Conference
With 81 Members (80 States and the European Union) representing all continents, the Hague Conference on Private International Law is a global inter-governmental organisation. Activities of the Conference are co-ordinated by a multinational Secretariat – the Permanent Bureau – located in The Hague.
The statutory mission of the Conference is to work for the "progressive unification" of private international law rules. This involves finding internationally-agreed approaches to issues such as jurisdiction of the courts, applicable law, and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in a wide range of areas, from commercial law and banking law to international civil procedure and from child protection to matters of marriage and personal status.
Between 1893 and 1904, the Conference adopted 7 international Conventions, which have all been subsequently replaced by more modern instruments.
Between 1951 and 2008, the Conference adopted 38 international Conventions, the practical operation of many of which is regularly reviewed by Special Commissions. Even when they are not ratified, the Conventions have an influence upon legal systems, in both Member and non-Member States. They also form a source of inspiration for efforts to unify private international law at the regional level, for example within the Organisation of American States or the European Union.
The most widely ratified Conventions deal with:
- The abolition of legalisation (Apostille)
- Service of process
- Taking of evidence abroad
- Access to justice
- International child abduction
- Intercountry adoption
- Conflicts of laws relating to the form of testamentary dispositions
- Maintenance obligations
- Recognition of divorces
The most recent Conventions are the Convention on the Law Applicable to Certain Rights in respect of Securities held with an Intermediary (2006), the Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (2005), the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance together with the Protocol on the Law Applicable to Maintenance Obligations (2007).
A simplified chart of signatures, ratifications and accessions to the Hague Conventions is available here in PDF format.
6 St James' International's Tim D. Castle is the inaugural UNCCA Chair. UNCCA promotes the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Australia. UNCITRAL is the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. A legal body with universal membership specialising in commercial law reform worldwide for over 40 years, UNCITRAL’s business is the modernisation and harmonisation of rules on international business.