PHL highlights importance of the Hague Conference in unification of rules of private int’l law

October 26, 2011 10:15 pm 

By Faye P. Velasco

MANILA, Oct. 26 — The Philippines highlighted the importance of the Hague Conference in the unification of the rules of private international law at the opening ceremonies Wednesday of the 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on the work of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.

“This regional conference, with the participation of over 150 delegates from 24 countries, highlights the growing recognition in the Asia-Pacific of the importance of the Hague Conference, whose aim is the progressive unification of the rules of private international law,” Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. said in his welcome remarks.

Conejos stated that the need for unification of rules is felt even more so with increased migration and cross-border exchanges brought about by globalization and technological advances.

He said that at any given point in time and anywhere, people are dealing with two or more legal systems that often provide different rules and the Hague Conventions have therefore not just become relevant, but necessary and indispensable to the efficient, coordinated, and simplified conduct of international exchanges.

“With this regional conference, we intend to deepen and expand our participation in the Hague Conference system, as we prepare to accede to the 1961 Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, otherwise known as the Apostille Convention; and the 1965 Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, otherwise known as the Service Convention,” Conejos added.

The conference is organized and hosted by the DFA in conjunction with the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH and co-hosted by the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) and the University of the Philippines College of Law.

Among the other dignitaries who spoke at the opening ceremonies were Supreme Court Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion, HCCH Secretary General Hans Van Loon and Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya. Also present were Justice Adolfo Azcuna of PHILJA and Professor Concepcion Jardaleza.

In attendance at the conference were around 75 international delegates from 24 countries and 99 Philippine participants from governmental and non-governmental agencies and the academe and officials of the DFA.

The conference, which will run until October 28, will have discussions on the implementation and practical operation of the various HCCH Conventions, including the Inter-country Adoption Convention, Apostille Convention, Service Convention and Child Support Convention and roundtable discussions on Migration.

The proposed establishment of an Asia-Pacific Regional Office of the HCCH will likewise be conducted.

At the first plenary after the opening ceremonies, Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya said, “We in the Philippines are proud of our legal tradition, and in our dealings domestically and with other countries, we are guided by the rule of law, including in disputes such as maritime delimitations with neighboring countries.”

“I am proud to state that the Philippines, for the first time, has become a member of all four major international law institutions based in The Hague, namely the International Court of Justice, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the HCCH, and the International Criminal Court,” he stated.

The HCCH is an intergovernmental organization that develops international legal cooperation instruments. The Philippines became a member of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 2010 and is a signatory to the Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect to Inter-Country Adoption (Inter-Country Adoption Convention), and is considered to have one of the “best practices” in the implementation of the Inter-country Adoption Convention.

Early last year, the DFA, through the Office of Legal Affairs, took major initiatives to enable the Philippines to keep abreast with emerging norms in international law, and specifically worked on the country’s accession to the 1907 Convention on the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes and to the The Hague Conference of Private International Law and the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. (PNA)

DCT/scs/FPV

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