The Hague Conference has published the Conclusions and Recommendations of the 2016 Special Commission on the operation of the Apostille Convention. Here are a few issues that may be of particular interest:

  • The C&Rs call on the Permanent Bureau to consider making improvements to the layout of the status tables on the HCCH website. This is an issue that affects not just the Apostille Convention but the other Conventions, too. The issue is that the tables do not present a single alphabetical list of states party to each Convention; they present one alphabetical list of those states that are members of the Hague Conference and another of those states that are parties to the Convention but not members of the Hague Conference. This can cause confusion. I have it on good authority that the Permanent Bureau is taking a real look at this.
  • I wrote earlier about some criticism of states (such as the United States) that have decentralized the competent authority function under the Apostille Convention. The Special Commission noted the “reports of several Contracting Parties highlighting the benefit of decentralising Competent Authorities which provides adequate and proper service to the public and notes the importance of providing appropriate resources and staff training to ensure the quality of service.” I read this to mean that the Special Commission finds broad criticisms of decentralized competent authorities to be unpersuasive but acknowledges the particular need for good training in cases where the function is decentralized.
  • Although the Permanent Bureau has made it clear before that a state should not condition acceptance of another state’s apostilles on confirmation from the other state of its procedures for issuing apostilles, the Conclusions and Recommendations make it clear that some states have not yet gotten the message.