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Last update: 19-07-2007
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General Information - International law

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The documents entitled “International law” will provide information for each topic on international organisations' most relevant activities in the fields of private international law and the law of civil procedure. These activities consist essentially in drafting conventions. The international organisations in question are:

 The Council of Europe

The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organisation which aims:
  • to protect human rights, pluralist democracy and the rule of law;
  • to promote awareness and encourage the development of Europe's cultural identity and diversity;
  • to seek solutions to problems facing European society (discrimination against minorities, xenophobia, intolerance, environmental protection, human cloning, Aids, drugs, organised crime, etc.);
  • to help consolidate democratic stability in Europe by backing political, legislative and constitutional reform.

The Council of Europe has 45 members, including all fifteen Member States of the European Union.

 The Hague Conference on international private law

The Hague Conference is an intergovernmental organisation, the purpose of which is “to work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law”. It has 61 Members, including the fifteen Member States of the European Union.

The principal method used to achieve this purpose consists of the negotiation and drafting of multilateral treaties (conventions) in the different fields of private international law.

For example:

  • international judicial and administrative cooperation;
  • conflict of laws for contracts, torts, maintenance obligations, status and protection of children, relations between spouses, wills and estates or trusts;
  • jurisdiction and enforcement of foreign judgements, etc.

 the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, commonly known as UNIDROIT

UNIDROIT is an independent intergovernmental organisation whose purpose is to study ways of harmonising and coordinating the private law of states and groups of states and to gradually prepare for the adoption by its various members of uniform rules of private law. UNIDROIT has 59 members, including all the Member States of the European Union. UNIDROIT's work consists mainly of model laws but also, sometimes, conventions.

 the International Commission on Civil Status (CIEC)

The CIEC is an intergovernmental body whose objectives are as follows:

  • to facilitate exchanges of legal texts and any documentation concerning civil status;
  • to seek legal and technical means of improving the workings of departments responsible for civil status in the Member States;
  • to contribute to the harmonisation and unification of civil status and family law by drawing up international conventions;
  • to cooperate with other international bodies which are also concerned with personal rights and family law.

The CIEC has sixteen members including eleven Member States of the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom).

 the United Nations, more specifically the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

UNCITRAL is the core legal body within the United Nations system in the field of international trade law. UNCITRAL has been tasked by the General Assembly with furthering the progressive harmonisation and unification of international trade law, in particular by preparing new international conventions, model laws and uniform laws. UNCITRAL comprises thirty-six members elected by the General Assembly. Membership is structured so as to be representative of the world's various geographic regions and its principal economic and legal systems.


Last update: 19-07-2007

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