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Private International Law - July 2014

Department’s Recent Collaborative Activities in Private International Law – Hague Conference and UNCITRAL

The Department of International Law welcomed a recent visit from Mr. Ignacio Goicoechea, Regional Representative of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Mr. Goicoechea began with an introduction to the general objectives, tasks and role of the Hague Conference and then spoke about the practical and procedural aspects of international instruments; i.e., how a topic is selected, the step-by-step process of how a convention is drafted, and how to overcome the hurdles that impede swift and effective implementation. As an illustrative example, he referred to work of the Hague Conference on the topic of child abduction and stressed the importance of the use and access to technology in juridical cooperation, as well as the necessity to modify existing policies to improve such cooperation.

Department’s Recent Collaborative Activities in Private International Law – Hague Conference and UNCITRAL

Also discussed was the relevance of inter-institutional cooperation and the possibility of future collaboration between the OAS and the Hague Conference. Mr. Goicoechea endorsed the adoption of an integrated approach, which would encompass both bilateral and multilateral consultations for technical assistance, capacity building and legislative activities, and he highlighted the increasing importance of outreach activities across the region. In concluding remarks, Mr. Goicoechea examined the role of academia might play in the development of private international law by international organizations and the potential usefulness of this sector as a tool to address the needs of Member States.

The Department, as representative of the OAS as an observer, was invited to attend the 47th session of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) recently held in New York. Senior Legal Officer, Ms. Jeannette Tramhel, gave a report on the Department’s current activities in private international law in shared areas of interest, particularly arbitration, secured transactions, electronic warehouse receipts, international contracts and simplified stock companies. The report also addressed areas of current and possible future collaboration between the UNCITRAL Secretariat and the Department.

Both of these activities are in furtherance of the mandate recently affirmed by OAS Member States at the OAS 44th General Assembly held in Paraguay in June 2014, where  a resolution was adopted on the Promotion of International Law (AG/RES. 2852 (XLIV-O/14). In paragraph 12 thereof, the OAS Secretariat, through its Department of International Law, has been instructed “to promote among member states further development of private international law, in collaboration with agencies and organizations engaged in this area, among them UNCITRAL, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, and the American Association of Private International Law (known by its Spanish acronym as ASADIP).”  These collaborative activities will continue: the Department has been invited to participate and present its work in the field of commercial arbitration at the Annual ASADIP meeting to be held in Porto Alegre (Brazil) in the fall of 2014.

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