The Hague Academy organises a number of lectures for all attendees of the summer courses on the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice and the various international criminal courts and tribunals. These lectures are followed by question-and-answer sessions. Today, a lecture on the Hague Conference on Private International Law by Thomas John, Attaché, Principal Legal Officer at the Permanent Bureau.

With 81 Members (80 States and the European Union) representing all continents, the Hague Conference on Private International Law is a global inter-governmental organisation. A melting pot of different legal traditions, it develops and services multilateral legal instruments, which respond to global needs. An increasing number of non-Member States are also becoming Parties to the Hague Conventions. As a result, the work of the Conference encompasses more than 145 countries around the world.

Personal and family or commercial situations which are connected with more than one country are commonplace in the modern world. These may be affected by differences between the legal systems in those countries. With a view to resolving these differences, States have adopted special rules known as "private international law" rules. The statutory mission of the Conference is to work for the "progressive unification" of these rules. This involves finding internationally-agreed approaches to issues such as jurisdiction of the courts, applicable law, and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in a wide range of areas, from commercial law and banking law to international civil procedure and from child protection to matters of marriage and personal status. Over the years, the Conference has, in carrying out its mission, increasingly become a centre for international judicial and administrative co-operation in the area of private law, especially in the fields of protection of the family and children, of civil procedure and commercial law.

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