Dutch Professor Tobias Asser, Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1911, was the initiator of the first session of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 1893. He noticed the need for international conferences to develop instruments, treaties conventions, protocols etc., to regulate relationships between individuals in an international context.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) has gradually included an ever widening circle of legal systems. The states that in the 1950s gave the Hague Conference its permanent status were largely continental European civil law systems, plus Japan and the United Kingdom. In the 1960s, the United States, Canada and other common law countries joined. Common law influence is likely to diminish after Brexit. Since the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999, the European Union is leading the negotiations for it member states in the Conference. Later, the Conference included China, other Asian countries and a large number of Latin American states.This century, a dialogue with Islamic systems has started. One of the results is the Malta Process, aimed at improving co-operation in cross-border family law disputes involving children with a view to finding solutions in situations where the relevant international legal framework is not applicable.

Members of the Conference are invited to deepen a common international perspective on how to handle legal diversity and to work together on instruments to permit coordination of legal systems. The Hague Conference on Private International Law has developed into the leading international forum for private international law harmonisation. At the moment the Hague Conference is a permanent intergovernmental organization, with regular plenary sessions, focused on many aspects of private international law (family law, contracts, recognition and execution of foreign judgments and many other subjects). The Hague Conference has seen impressive growth of both its membership and the range of States Parties to its Conventions.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on The Hague Conference on Private International Law. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's subject heading (keyword) Hague Conference on Private International Law is instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.


Sources of international law


Soft law

Reference works

Selected books and articles

For all peer-reviewed articles in the PPL Catalogue, click here.

Periodicals and series