The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is a global intergovernmental organization dedicated to the gradual 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 an additional 70 non-member states that are affiliates.
The HCCH is the only international legislative organization in The Hague (it is not a court or tribunal). The HCCH drafts conventions (HCCH conventions) that provide clarity and direction in cross-border relations in three main areas: family law and child protection, dispute resolution and recognition of documents, and commercial and financial law. The treaties have a direct, positive impact on people’s lives and are applied millions of times a year in some cases. The HCCH treaties with most of the contracting parties cover authentication of documents (1961 Apostille), intercountry 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, on the initiative of the Dutch scholar Tobias Asser, making the HCCH the oldest intergovernmental organization in The Hague. Since it became a permanent organization in the mid-twentieth century, the headquarters of the HCCH Secretariat (Permanent Bureau) has also been located in The Hague. The Permanent Bureau conducts research and preparatory work in the run-up to meetings and negotiations, in addition to 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 September 30th to learn more about the HCCH, the people who work here, and the work that we do.