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HCCH Commission Releases Conclusions and Recommendations of 11 The Hague International Forum

11th International Forum on the Electronic Handout Program (e-APP)

Conclusions and Recommendations

  1. Between 16 and 18 October 2019, more than 350 experts from more than 40 Contracting and Non-Contracting Parties met in Fortaleza, Brazil to participate in the 11th International Forum on the Electronic Handout Program (e-APP). To date, this is the largest number of participants attending a Forum in the history of e-APP.
  2. The Forum was organized by the Permanent Secretariat of the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) in conjunction with the National Council of Justice (CNJ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, the Association of Notaries and Registrars of Brazil (ANOREG), the Federal Council of the Notary College of Brazil; and the National Association of Natural Recorders of Brazil. The participants thanked and congratulated the organizers for another successful edition of the Forum, the second to be held in the Latin American region.

Global Importance and Promotion of e-APP

  1. It was with great satisfaction that participants noted the continuing global interest in both 5 HCCH Convention of October 1961 on the Abolition of the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Acts (HCCH Apostille Convention), and specifically in the e-APP. Participants praised the firm determination of the competent authorities to ensure the safe and effective functioning of the Convention through e-APP.
  2. Recognizing the significant positive impact that e-APP has on facilitating the issuance and verification procedures of the Apostille, as well as on improving access to services for citizens worldwide, the competent authorities of current and future Contracting Parties to the HCCH Apostille Convention are encouraged. consider implementing both components of e-APP (ie the e-Handout and e-Registration components).[1]
  3. In addition to the promotional work carried out by the Permanent Secretariat, participants acknowledged the great importance of promotional activities conducted by the competent authorities that have already implemented e-APP. These competent authorities can share their positive experiences and witness the true value and impact of e-APP, inspiring other Contracting Parties in the region or around the world. In this regard, the competent authorities are encouraged to record statistical data and to share them regularly with the Permanent Secretariat. Such information would include not only the number of handouts issued and the type of underlying documents, but also information on saving time and resources compared to previous Handout procedures (eg issuing / verifying papers) and traditional legalization. . This information should be published in the Handout Section on the HCCH website. The Permanent Secretariat was also invited to consider the standardization of statistical criteria to ensure a quantitative and qualitative analysis that encourages the analysis of related and relevant policies.

Execution Practices

  1. Recalling that the participants of the previous edition of the Forum marked the occasion of the tenth edition with the compilation of an official e-APP Forum Conclusions and Recommendations program, the participants of this 11 Forum took the opportunity to reaffirm the 10 Forum S&R and encouraged Contracting Parties to refer to them when considering the implementation of either or both components of e-APP, namely C&R nrs. 20 to 22 on digital certification mechanisms.
  2. Participants recommended to the competent authorities considering e-APP to explore the use of the latest technological advances and solutions, including, where possible, distributed ledger technologies. Participants further recommended that competent authorities that have already implemented e-APP monitor their development and consider, where possible, upgrading or improving their e-APP infrastructure as appropriate, to keep pace with the technology. .
  3. When any of the components of the e-APP are implemented, or if the Contracting Parties change the practices and procedures of the e-APP, the participants referred to the importance of informing the Permanent Secretariat and the other Contracting Parties (and in some cases the depositary of the Convention, ie Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and to make information available to the general public.
  4. In the light of the deliberations of the 11 Forum, participants also requested consideration by the Permanent Secretariat about the inclusion of a number of discussion topics on the agenda of the next meeting of the Special Committee on the Practical Functioning of the Apostille Convention. These topics, as suggested by Forum participants, include:
  • An assessment of whether the wider use of distributed registration technologies can further support and improve e-APP in the practical operationalization of the Convention, particularly as regards e-Registries. In order to prepare these discussions, the participants invited the Council for General and Political Affairs (CGAP) to consider setting up an Expert Group, which should include information technology specialists, to deepen these issues;
  • Possible efforts to further promote the consistent interpretation and application of the exclusions provided for in Article 1 (3);
  • How could the Permanent Secretariat provide more information on Contracting Party practices, including digital certification mechanisms, in the Handout Section on the HCCH website.

Next Forum

  1. In accordance with the mandate given by the HCCH CGAP (in C&R No. 35 of 2019 Meeting), the 12 e-APP Forum will be hosted in The Hague to coincide with the next Special Commission meeting scheduled for October of 2021 on the occasion of the 60 anniversary of the HCCH Apostille Convention.


[1] The e-APP comprises two components, the e-Handout and the e-Registration. The e-Handout component is the effective issuance of the handout certificate in electronic form, with electronic signature. The e-Registration component is the same registration required by Art. 7 of the Convention, but when entries in the registry can be consulted electronically (usually online) and Verification of the Handout takes place electronically.

Source: Press Release

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