Activities and Priorities Dept. Justice Private International Law 2007


[16] The Hague Conference on Private International Law, which held its first session in 1893, has 67 Members, including Canada since 1968 and the European Community as of 2007. Its objective is to work toward the progressive unification of rules of private international law. The Permanent Bureau, the Secretariat of the Conference, is responsible for administration and supporting research. Its working cycle is approximately four years, at the end of which Sessions of the Conference are convened, attended by all Members. Members also meet during the intersessional period in “Special Commissions”, which develop draft conventions to be adopted at the next Session. Further information on the Hague Conference on Private International Law can be found at:

[17] The Conference’s work programme is now reviewed each year at a meeting of the Council on General Affairs and Policy. Its current work plan includes the finalization of a convention on maintenance obligations.

[18] Over the last year, Canada participated in the following activities of the Conference: experts and drafting group meetings, Special Commissions, including the Council meeting of April 2007 on General Affairs and Policy of the Conference and the Special Commission on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance in May 2007.

[19] Canada is party to four Hague Conference Conventions in private international law: the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra-judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (1965, in force in Canada 88/05/01); the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980, in force in Canada 88/04/01); the Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition (1985, in force in Canada 93/01/01); and the Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (1993, Canada 97/04/01). Not all jurisdictions in Canada have implemented all four.


[20] The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, the core legal body within the UN system in the field of international trade law, aims to further the progressive harmonisation and unification of the law of international trade. To reach this goal, the Commission uses various instruments: it has prepared 10 conventions, model laws, uniform rules and a number of legal or legislative guides. Further information on UNCITRAL, including instruments adopted by the Commission, status of ratifications and adoption of instruments, and working group reports, can be found at:

[21] UNCITRAL comprises 60 Member States representing various geographic regions and the principal economic systems and legal traditions of the world. Members are elected for a six-year term by the General Assembly. Other States and international governmental and non-governmental organizations may participate as observers in meetings of the Commission and its working groups, which both operate by consensus. Canada was a member of UNCITRAL from 1989 to 1995, participated actively as an observer from 1995 to 2001, and was elected to the Commission for a term commencing in June 2001 and ending in June 2007. Canada was re-elected this spring for a term commencing in June 2007 until 2013.

[22] At the 40th session of the Commission in June-July 2007, UNCITRAL finalized and adopted part of the Draft Legislative Guide on Secured Transactions. It is expected that the Commission will complete its adoption of the Guide at a resumed session in December this year.

[23] In terms of future work, the Commission decided to continue the work undertaken by its Working Groups on procurement, arbitration, transport and insolvency. The Commission also decided to refer work on security interests in intellectual property and certain directly-held securities to the Working Group on security interests starting in 2008. Finally, the Commission held a public congress in the context of its fortieth annual session to review the results of the past work programme of UNCITRAL, as well as related work of other organizations active in the field of international trade law, to assess current work programmes and to consider and evaluate topics for future work programmes.

[24] Canada is party to two UN conventions relating to international commercial law: the U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958, in force 86/08/10) and the U.N. Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (Vienna Convention of 1980, in force in Canada 92/05/01). Canada has also enacted domestic legislation implementing UNCITRAL’s Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985). Legislation drawing on UNCITRAL’s Model Law on Electronic Commerce has been adopted by the federal government, the provinces and two territories.


[25] The International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, known as Unidroit, was created in 1926 as an organ of the League of Nations. Since 1940 it has been an independent inter-governmental organization based in Rome. There are 61 Member States, including Canada since 1968. Unidroit’s mandate differs from that of the Hague Conference as it aims to harmonize and co-ordinate the private law of its Member States, rather than their private international law rules. Further information on Unidroit can be found at:

[26] Since its creation, Unidroit has drafted more than seventy studies, model laws and conventions on various private law subjects including sales, international leasing and factoring, transport, security interests, franchising and cultural property.

[27] Canada is party to only one of the ten Unidroit conventions, the Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will (1973) (in force Canada 78/09/02). Canada has also signed the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and its related Aircraft Protocol. Not all jurisdictions have implemented these instruments.


[28] The World Bank’s role in the field of private international law stems in part from the creation of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) under the Convention for the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (1965). Canada signed this Convention in December 2006. To facilitate ratification, the ULCC adopted a uniform act to implement the Convention. Further information on the World Bank and the ICSID Convention can be found at:


[29] The Organization of American States (OAS), with 35 member States, provides an important forum for political, economic, social and cultural cooperation in the Americas. In the legal field, the Inter-American Juridical Committee, composed of eleven jurists who are nationals of Member States, serves as an advisory body to the OAS. The Committee recommends the convening of specialized legal conferences, such as the Inter-American Specialized Conference on Private International Law (CIDIP) which meets approximately every four or five years to deal with technical matters and further cooperation in the area of private international law. Further information on the OAS can be found at:

[30] Canada is not yet party to any of the 23 OAS conventions in private international law, and had only observer status for the first four CIDIP meetings. Since becoming a member of the OAS in 1990, however, Canada’s interest in exploring ways of enhancing legal cooperation with other OAS countries has increased. Canada did participate officially in the 1994 Fifth Inter-American Conference on Private International Law (CIDIP-V) and in CIDIP-VI which took place in 2002. Since the adoption of an OAS General Assembly resolution in 2003, CIDIP-VII has been under preparation. Two topics have been selected: one on consumer protection, and the other on secured transactions and electronic registries. Consultations with provincial and territorial governments and stakeholders are ongoing to develop Canada’s position on these projects.


[31] Canada has also entered into bilateral conventions on the enforcement of judgments. The first convention of this type was the Canada-UK Convention on the Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (1984) which is in force for all provinces and territories except Quebec.

[32] The Canada-France Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters and on Mutual Legal Assistance in Maintenance was signed on June 10, 1996. A uniform act to implement this Convention was adopted by the ULCC in August 1997.

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