21 April 2004
Yesterday, 19 April 2004, at the residence of the Netherlands Ambassador in Ottawa, Mr T. Bradbrooke ("Brad") Smith QC received the insignia of the Royal Honour of Commander Orange-Nassau (Commandeur van Oranje-Nassau) from the Netherlands Ambassador in Canada, Mr J.G.S.T.M. van Hellenberg Hubar. Brad Smith received this high honour for his invaluable contribution to the work of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the leading Organisation in the world for the unification of private international law, including international co-operation in civil and commercial matters.
The honour also extends to the Government of Canada whose representative at the Hague Conference Mr Smith has been for more than three decades, and which has shown unstinting commitment to the Hague Conference.
Brad Smith played a leading role in the negotiations on several of the 35 post-war Hague Conventions. As leader of the Canadian delegation, he gave in 1976 a decisive impulse to the Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which now binds more than 70 States, and has been a significant deterrent against international child abduction.
He chaired, in difficult circumstances, the negotiations which led to the 1978 Convention on the Law Applicable to Agency, and he managed to carry the negotiations on the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption to a very successful completion in 1993. This Convention has had a significant impact on improving safeguards for children adopted abroad.
Ambassador Como van Hellenberg Hubar praised Mr Smith's extraordinary devotion, skills and charm as qualities which have contributed to the reputation of The Hague as "Legal Capital of the World".