Vacancy at the Permanent Bureau: Secretary General

The Permanent Bureau (PB) of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) is looking for an outstanding lawyer to fill on 1 July 2023, the post of:

Secretary General

As indicated in the Arrangements for appointing Secretaries General of the HCCH (approved by the Council on General Affairs and Policy (CGAP) in 2021), the Secretary General is responsible for managing the PB of the HCCH and for the performance of its functions under Article 6 of the Statute of the HCCH.

Statement of Duties

Implementing the Work Programme of the HCCH and developing a Strategic Plan 

  1. Implementing the Work Programme of the HCCH as determined by CGAP.
  2. Preparation and organisation of the Diplomatic Sessions of the HCCH, Council meetings, Special Commissions, Working Groups and Experts’ Groups.
  3. At the direction of CGAP, develop a Strategic Plan for the Organisation in consultation with Members at an interval of no more than three to five years. 

Managing the resources of the Organisation

  1. Managing the human and financial resources of the Organisation to ensure that the services the PB provides to Members of the HCCH are of the highest standard and quality and delivered in a timely manner.
  2. Promoting teamwork within the PB and providing a safe, harmonious and productive working environment for the staff of the PB, including promptly resolving any disputes that may arise. 

Representing the HCCH 

  1. Representing the HCCH in its relations with the host Government, other Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. 

Ensuring the good governance of the HCCH 

  1. Ensuring the work of the PB is conducted in accordance with the Statute, rules and procedures of the HCCH.
  2. Reporting to CGAP on the implementation of the Work Programme and the Strategic Plan and to the CGAP and the Council of Diplomatic Representatives on financial matters. 

Statement of Qualifications 

Candidates must have a minimum of 12 years’ relevant professional experience including in senior management positions as well as the qualifications, abilities and attributes necessary to perform the duties of the Secretary General as set out in the Statement of Duties contained in the Arrangements for appointing Secretaries General, including: 

  • an excellent knowledge of the principles of private international law and public international law including a thorough understanding of the operation of the Statute and core Conventions of the HCCH;
  • the experience and skills necessary to manage the human and financial resources of an organisation such as the HCCH;
  • a proven capacity to build strong and harmonious working relationships;
  • diplomatic skills and political sensitivity enabling them to maintain constructive and trusting relationships with the Members of the HCCH and with other organisations;
  • a proven capacity to build consensus and negotiate outcomes;
  • a proven capacity to identify and address emerging opportunities and challenges;
  • integrity, professionalism, results orientation, openness to new ideas, respect for others and a proven capacity to adapt to new situations and challenges.

Experience of working within a Government of a Member or working with, or within, an international intergovernmental organisation is highly desirable.

Candidates must be a national of a Member State of the HCCH. Candidates must be fluent in either English or French and have a working knowledge of the other language. Knowledge of other languages, particularly those that are common to a region served by a Regional Office of the HCCH, is desirable.

In view of the terms of the Statute of the HCCH, this position is based in The Hague, the Netherlands. The position requires travel to both neighbouring and distant countries.

Type of appointment and duration: five-year contract, possibility for renewal; medical clearance required.

Grade (Coordinated Organisations scale for the Netherlands): A7 subject to relevant experience. Secretarial status granted according to the Statute of the HCCH, and Diplomatic status, with the relevant privileges and immunities, according to the agreements of the HCCH with the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Deadline for applications: 14 October 2022 (5.00 p.m. CEST)

Anticipated starting date: July 2023.

Applications: written applications, including a Curriculum Vitae, letter of motivation, a writing sample in either English or French, a clear statement of claims against the Statement of Qualifications set out above and the names and contact details of three suitable referees, should be sent to

More information about the process can be found in the Arrangements for appointing Secretaries General of the HCCH

Diversity & Inclusiveness: Candidates are advised that in accordance with Article 5 of the Statute of the HCCH in appointments to the position of Secretary General account shall also be taken of diversity in terms of gender, geographical representation and legal expertise. Currently the team of Diplomat Lawyers holds Swiss, Singaporean, Canadian, Italian, and Spanish nationalities.

Process: The short-listed candidates whose applications are retained will be invited to interview with an Assessment Committee composed of six to ten representatives of Members of the HCCH, the President of the Netherlands Standing Government Committee on Private International Law, and the Chair of CGAP. Finalists may be invited to take part in an external professional assessment.

Please note that in keeping with paragraph 18 of the Arrangements, all Members of the HCCH will have access to the full set of applications received through the Secure Portal of the HCCH website.