The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is a global intergovernmental organisation working for the progressive unification of private international law, bridging continents, legal traditions and social and cultural backgrounds. More than 150 states are associated with the work of the HCCH, with 85 members (84 states and the European Union) and another 70 non-member states.
The HCCH is the only international legislative organisation in The Hague (it is not a court or tribunal). The HCCH drafts conventions (HCCH-Treaties) that provide clarity and direction in cross-border relations in three main areas: family law and child protection, dispute settlement and recognition of documents, and commercial and financial law. The conventions have a direct, positive impact on people’s lives and, in some cases, are applied millions of times a year. The HCCH conventions with most contracting parties cover authentication of documents (1961 Apostille), inter-country adoption (1993 Adoption), international child abduction (1980 Child Abduction), service of documents abroad (1965 Service), and obtaining evidence abroad (1970 Evidence). The most recent HCCH Convention was adopted in 2019 and deals with the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments.
The first ‘Hague Conference’ took place in 1893, at the initiative of the Dutch scholar Tobias Asser, making the HCCH the oldest intergovernmental organisation in The Hague. Since it became a permanent organisation in the middle of the 20th century, the seat of the HCCH Secretariat (Permanent Bureau) has also been located in The Hague. The Permanent Bureau carries out research and preparatory work in the run-up to meetings and negotiations, as well as supporting the effective functioning of the HCCH Conventions.
We invite you to visit our website, engage with us on social media, and attend our events on Wednesday the 30th of September to learn more about the HCCH, the people who work here, and the work we do.