The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is an intergovernmental organisation working for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law through the negotiation, adoption and monitoring of international treaties – the HCCH Conventions – and other legal instruments. Its origins date back to 1893, the year in which the first “Hague Conference” was held, making it the oldest intergovernmental organisation based in The Hague.
In today’s world, individuals and businesses are constantly engaged in cross-border interactions, with work, commerce, study, shopping, travel, relationships and more increasingly taking place across multiple countries. These activities require a high degree of legal certainty and predictability to thrive. However, when taking place across borders the differences between countries’ legal systems often leave gaps in the legal framework, resulting in uncertainty as to which authority has jurisdiction, which law is applicable, how decisions are recognised and enforced and what cooperation mechanisms are available to overcome challenges of cross-border judicial or administrative procedures.
The HCCH’s mission is to resolve these questions by providing internationally agreed solutions, the HCCH Conventions and instruments, across three main areas:
- International Family and Child Protection Law
- Transnational Litigation and Apostille
- International Commercial, Digital, and Financial Law
The ultimate goal of the HCCH is to provide individuals, families, and businesses across the world with a high degree of legal certainty and predictability in cross-border matters. Its work thus has a significant practical impact on people’s daily lives, supporting effective access to justice and dispute resolution, promoting the rule of law and human rights, and facilitating cross-border commerce and investment.
At present, the HCCH is composed of 91 Members – 90 States and the European Union – representing all regions of the globe. In addition, an increasing number of non-Members have either signed or become Contracting Parties to HCCH Conventions. As a result, the work of the HCCH encompasses over 150 countries around the world.