Hague Conference | International Centre for Judicial Studies and Technical Assistance
hague conference | international centre
for judicial studies and technical assistance
The International Centre for Judicial Studies and Technical Assistance was established in 2007 by the Hague Conference on Private International Law to promote and support the delivery of assistance and training on the Hague Conventions to government and legal officials around the world.
Over the years, the Hague Conference has been developing and servicing these multilateral Conventions which respond to global needs in three key areas: international protection of children and families, international legal co-operation and litigation and international commercial and financial law.
As an integral part of the Hague Conference, the Centre aims to provide greater understanding of the Hague Conventions by delivering specialised training programmes and customised technical assistance. These programmes continue to succeed in creating a mutual understanding of legal cultures, building legal and administrative capacity and reinforcing the rule of law and good governance.
Together, the Hague Conference and the Centre are leaders in the field of private international law, working toward greater legal security for citizens of the world.
Providing local solutions for international problems
Globalisation has resulted in an increasing number of personal and family or commercial situations connected with more than one country and impacted by differences between legal systems. The Hague Conventions are at the forefront of responding to these situations by providing practical solutions through workable legal and administrative frameworks. The Hague Conventions are concerned with issues that affect the daily lives of millions of people around the world such as international family law, intercountry adoption of children and cross?border litigation.
Over the past 20 years, the number of Member States of the Hague Conference has almost doubled and there are now over 125 States that are contracting parties to one or more Hague Conventions. The majority of these are emerging States. As more and more States see the value of participating in the Hague Conventions, there is a growing demand from governments for specialist training and advice.
Solid partnerships, experienced professionals
The Centre draws on the expertise of the Hague Conference and its vast international network of highly qualified experts in private international law. The Centre mobilises this expertise to provide assistance which is customised to meet the needs of individual States or particular regions, recognising diversity in legal traditions. Programmes are delivered through cost-effective and innovative delivery models including intensive in?country development activities, regional forums and training activities for judicial and government officials.
The Centre has established a number of solid working partnerships with many international and non?government organisations, such as UNICEF, to benefit from local experience and networks in developing activities..
International co-operation for the protection of children and families
One of the Centre's highly successful programmes is the Intercountry Adoption Technical Assistance Programme (ICATAP), which provides assistance to certain States prior to, or on joining, the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. This Convention establishes a system of co?operation between authorities in States, designed to ensure that intercountry adoption takes place under conditions which help to guarantee good practices and eliminate abuses. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child now regularly recommends States to join the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention and to seek technical assistance.
In partnership with individuals and organisations on the ground, ICATAP develops solutions to address the local needs. Assistance might involve providing advice on legislation, structural organisation and capacity building; identifying and overcoming bad practices, such as selling babies for adoption; and training people in the adoption procedure, and in the child protection system in general. Two major ICATAP projects, in Guatemala and Cambodia, have produced positive results.
ICATAP experts worked intensively with Guatemalan authorities to approve new legislation consistent with international treaties, implement this legislation and the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention and eliminate ‘private' adoptions which were a source of many abuses.
In 2008, the Cambodian Government sought ICATAP assistance to properly implement the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention.
In addition to technical support, ICATAP facilitated a Working Group of concerned States to support the Cambodian Government in its transition to a Hague compliant system. The Group made a number of recommendations, which the Cambodian Government accepted. This provides a promising base for ICATAP to continue work on building the capacity of the Cambodian authorities to protect children in Cambodia from exploitation.
The Centre also provides technical assistance and training to States in relation to the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction and the 1996 Hague Convention on Child Protection. These Conventions provide an international framework of judicial and legal co-operation to protect children in transfrontier situations. Experts from the Centre work with States to identify needs and develop a programme of activities typically targeted to government or judicial officials.
To meet the ever increasing demand for assistance, the Centre seeks to enhance its capacity. In the coming years, the Centre aims to continue expanding the delivery of its activities in a wide range of countries. The primary focus of work will continue to be on the needs of emerging States. Given the mutual benefit to all States Parties of improved operation and implementation of the Hague Conventions, it is of interest to Member States of the Hague Conference to support and contribute to the development assistance activities of the Centre.
For more information contact:
Mr Hans van Loon,
|Ms Micah Thorner,
Director, International Centre for Judicial Studies and Technical Assistance