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Home » Hague Convention which abolishes the requirements of legalization for foreign public documents

Hague Convention which abolishes the requirements of legalization for foreign public documents

The signatories of this Convention, desiring to abolish the requirement of diplomatic or consular legalization for foreign public documents, have decided to conclude a Convention to this effect and have agreed upon the following provisions:

Article 1

The present Convention shall apply to public documents which were issued on the territory of one Contracting State and shall be submitted to the territory of another Contracting State.

Official documents to this Convention are the following:

a) Documents issued by authority or officer, subordinating to the jurisdiction of the state, including documents issued by public prosecutor's office, clerk of a court or sheriff (huissier de justice);

b) Administrative documents;

c) Notarial acts;

d) Official inscriptions, which are made on the documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates confirming the registration of document or fact which took place on a certain date, and official and notarial certification of signatures.

However, this Convention does not apply to:

a) Documents issued by diplomatic or consular agents;

b) Administrative documents dealing directly with commercial or customs operations.

Article 2

Each Contracting State shall exempt from legalization the documents on which the Convention applies and which should be presented on its territory. Legalization in the sense of this Convention means only the formality which is used by the diplomatic or consular agents of the country in which the document should be submitted for authentication of the signature, capacity, in which the person signed the document, and, where appropriate, the authenticity of the seal or a stamp which the document bears.

Article 3

The only formality that may be required to authenticate the signature, capacity, in which the person signed the document, and, where appropriate, the authenticity of the seal or stamp which it bears, is stamped Apostille foreseen by the Article 4 by the competent authority of the State in which this document was issued.

However, the formality mentioned in the preceding paragraph, may not be required if the laws, regulations or customs which are active in the State where the document is presented, or an agreement between two or more Contracting States have abolished or simplified the present procedure or if the document is released from legalization.

Article 4

Provided in the first paragraph of the Article 3 Apostille is affixed to the document or on a separate sheet, attached to the document, but must correspond to the sample annexed to this Convention.

However, it may be drawn up in the official language of the issuing authority. Available in it paragraphs may be in the other language. The title "Apostille (Convention de la Haye du 5 octobre 1961)" must be given in French.

Article 5

Certificate shall be issued at the request of the signatory or of any bearer of the document.

Properly completed it will certify the authenticity of a signature, the capacity in which the person signed the document, and, where appropriate, the authenticity of the seal or stamp which it bears.

The signature, seal or stamp on the certificate are not required any certification.

Article 6

Each Contracting State shall appoint, in accordance with their official functions, the authorities who are competent to issue the certificate with Apostille, foreseen by the first paragraph of the Article 3.

It shall notify about this appointment the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands at the time of depositing of its ratification instrument or letter of joining, or its declaration of extension. It shall also give notice to the Ministry concerning any change in the appointment of these bodies.

Article 7

Each of the authorities designated in accordance with the Article 6 shall have a registry book or card index in which it shall register the affixed Apostille, specifying:

a) the serial number and date of the Apostille;

b) the name of the person who signed the official document, and the capacity in which he has acted, and in the case of unsigned documents - the authority that has affixed the seal or stamp.

At the request of any interested party the authority which has affixed an Apostille is obliged to verify whether the given records corresponds to the information entered in the registry book or card index.

Article 8

If two or more Contracting States concluded a treaty, convention or agreement which contains provisions, required the definite formalities of certification of a signature, seal or stamp, this Convention shall prevail only if mentioned formalities are stricter than the formality, foreseen by the Articles 3 and 4.

Article 9

Each Contracting State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that its diplomatic or consular agents won’t produce legalization in cases when this Convention provides exemption.

Article 10

This Convention is open for signing by the States represented at the ninth session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, as well as Ireland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Turkey.

It shall be ratified and the ratification instruments shall be deposited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Article 11

This Convention shall enter into force on the sixtieth day after deposit of the third ratification instrument foreseen in the second paragraph of the Article 10.

For each signatory State of the Convention, which ratified it later, it shall enter into force on the sixtieth day after the depositing of its ratification instrument.

Article 12

Any State not mentioned in the Article 10 may join to this Convention after its entry into force in accordance with the provisions of the Article 11. The document about accession shall be deposited to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Accession shall be valid only in the relations between the acceding State and those Contracting States which have not raised objection to this within six months after receipt of the notification provided in paragraph "d" of the Article 15. Notice about such objection shall be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Convention enters into force between the acceding State and the States which have raised no objection to its accession on the sixtieth day after expiration of six months term, mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Article 13

At the moment of signing, ratification or accession any State may declare that this Convention shall extend to all territories which it represents on the international level, or to one or more of them. This statement is valid from the date of entry into force of the Convention for that State.

In the future the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands is notified about any such extension.

If an application for extension is made by the State which has signed and ratified the Convention, the latest shall enter into force for the territories in accordance with the provisions of the Article 11. If an application for extension is made by any state, joined to the Convention, the latest shall enter into force for the territories in accordance with the provisions of the Article 12.

Article 14

The present Convention shall be valid for five years from the date of its entry into force in accordance with the first sub-paragraph of the Article 11, including in respect of States which have ratified it or acceded to it subsequently.

If the Convention is not denounced, its effect is prolonged with the tacit consent of the parties for every future five years.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands shall be noticed about denunciation not less than six months before the expiration of five years term.

Denunciation may be limited by some of the territories to which the Convention applies.

The denunciation shall have effect only in respect of a State which notified it. The Convention shall remain in effect for other Contracting States.

Article 15

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands shall notify the States mentioned in the Article 10, as well as the States which have acceded in accordance with the provisions of the Article 12:

a) about notifications referred to in the second sub-paragraph of the Article 6;

b) about signing and ratifications referred to in the Article 10;

c) about the date of entry into force of this Convention in accordance with the provisions of the first sub-paragraph of the Article 11;

d) about accessions and objections referred to in the Article 12, and the date of entry into force of accession;

e) about extensions, referred to in the Article 13, and the date of its entry into force;

f) about denunciations referred to in the third sub-paragraph of the Article 14.

In witness whereof the undersigned, duly authorized, have signed this Convention.

It is done at the Hague on the 5th October 1961 in French and English (in case of divergence between the texts, preference is given to the French text), in a single copy which shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the Netherlands and a certified copy of which is transmitted through the diplomatic channel, submitted at the ninth session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, as well as Ireland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Turkey.

Annex to the Convention

Sample Apostille

Apostille must be in the form of a square with sides at least 9 centimeters long.

APOSTILLE

(Convention de La Haye du 5 octobre 1961)

1. Country:

This public document



2. Is signed by:

(surname)

3. As:

(position)

4. Sealed/stamped:

(official name of institution)

Certified

5. In: 6. Date:

(town) (digits)

7. By:

(surname, position, name of authority which certified)

8. Under the ?:

9. Seal/stamp: 10. Signature:


Member States of the Convention (as of March 1992)^
Antigua and Barbuda Marshall Islands
Austria Netherlands
Argentina Norway
Bahamas Panama
Belgium Portugal
Botswana Russian Federation
Brunei Swaziland
Great Britain Seychelles
Hungary Suriname
Greece USA
Israel Tonga
Spain Turkey
Italy Fiji
Cyprus Finland
Lesotho France
Liechtenstein Germany
Luxembourg Switzerland
Mauritania Yugoslavia
Japan Malawi
Malta


In accordance with the Article 11 the Convention entered into force on the 24th of January 1965, on the sixtieth day after the date of the third ratification instrument in relation to the following States which have deposited the ratification instruments to the Government of the Netherlands in the following terms:
Yugoslavia ............................... 25th of September, 1962

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (applying also on the territories of Jersey, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Isle of Man) .......................................... 21st of August, 1964

France (applying also to the overseas departments and territories) ................................... 25th of November, 1964

Journal of Private International Law N 2, 1993.