Toespraak van minister Dekker tijdens het 125-jarige bestaan van de Haagse Conferentie voor Internationaal Privaatrecht

Toespraak van minister Dekker tijdens het 125-jarig bestaan van de Haagse Conferentie voor Internationaal Privaatrecht in Theater Dilligentia op woensdag 12 september 2018 in Den Haag. De toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Koning Willem-Alexander en minister Sander Dekker tijdens het 125-jarig bestaan Haagse Conferentie voor Internationaal Privaatrecht

Your Majesty, Secretary-General, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a great pleasure to address you on behalf of the Dutch government and to congratulate you all on the 125th anniversary of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Nous sommes fiers d’abriter une organisation internationale riche d’une si longue histoire et d’une telle importance à l’heure de la mondialisation.

Si vous me le permettez, je vais poursuivre en anglais.

When the Dutch lawyer Tobias Asser convened the first Hague Conference in 1893, the world was a different place. I’m sure other speakers will mention him today, and rightfully so.

Asser, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was a visionary. At the end of the 19th century, he saw that international relations were expanding. What’s more, cross-border business disputes had started to arise, demanding clarity and resolution.  

Of course, most people still lived their lives within the boundaries of their own neighbourhood. But Asserforesaw that this would change. He saw that, in the future, the world would need international legal agreements. And he was right.

In the late 19th century, our cities and neighbourhoods defined who we were. Nowadays, the wider world is part of our daily lives. Through our travels, through our personal contacts, and through the internet. Often the resulting possibilities make life easier or more interesting.

But they can make life more complicated, too. Imagine you’re unlucky enough to have a car accident while on holiday abroad. The damage is serious, and you need to know which country’s laws will determine who’s liable.

Fortunately, the Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Traffic Accidents lays down rules which help figure that out. Allowing all parties to put the incident behind them and move on.

Even more painful is when international marriages fall apart. Especially when there are children involved, and one parent decides to take them abroad without the other parent’s approval.

Regrettably, situations like this are not uncommon. But thanks to the Hague Conference, we have a legal procedure to bring the children home as soon as possible.

Cases like these show the clear need for the work of the Hague Conference. The harmonisation of rules, which has always been your goal, enables people to find their way in a globalising world that, to many, can seem like a maze.

I’d like to congratulate you on your many achievements, and to invite you all to continue seeking practical solutions to the complex legal situations that arise all over the world.

I look forward to hearing the results of the Conference’s ongoing work, and especially to the upcoming Diplomatic Conference on the ‘Judgments Project’.

Ladies and gentlemen,

If we had a time machine and could transport Tobias Asser to the present day, I’m sure he would be delighted with the progress of the Hague Conference. And with the legacy of what he started: global cooperation that aims to solve people’s legal problems.

Let us continue guiding people through the maze of private international law.

Let’s help them eliminate legal obstacles and find simple solutions for their legal problems.

Above all, let’s show them that the rule of law works.

Thank you.