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What is "Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Documents"?

Centreville, VA |

Actually, is it different from "Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents"? I ask because California Superior Court Local Rule 14.32 references the former, but all I can find is information on the latter.

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  1. Best answer

    There is only one International Convention. Here you will find the text:
    The US ratified this Treaty that entered into force in 1965. Please be sure to read the Apostille section.

    This reply is offered for educational purpose only. You should seek the advice of an attorney. The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than an educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the undisclosed individual asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of New York. Responses are based solely on New York Law unless stated otherwise. Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service guidance, be advised that any federal tax advice contained in this written or electronic communication is not intended or written to be used and it cannot be used by any person or entity for the purpose of (i) avoiding any tax penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service or any other U.S. Federal taxing authority or agency or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

  2. It is basically an International Convention (read Treaty) that provides for how to get foreign public documents into Court without too many evidentiary foundational issues.

    You can contact David Morgan at (804)330-9220. The above communication does not establish an attorney/client relationship and is likely not considered confidential and/or privileged. Except for use by the intended recipient, or as expressly authorized by the sender, any person who receives this information is prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, and/or using it.

  3. Although the convention is intended to simplify procedures for obtaining foreign documents which can be used as proof, some aspects, such as the "apostille" can be perplexing to some, such that consulting with experienced international counsel will be helpful.

  4. It is normal in a number of foreign countries to require official documents from another country to be legalized. Often, but not always, this takes the form of an apostille or it can also be achieved by a statement from the foreign ministry of the country. It is just an additional step (normally in addition to notarizing) that helps prove the authenticity of the document.

  5. San Francisco Superior Court Local Rule 14.32 ("Proving Foreign Wills") makes reference to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. The full text of the Hague Convention can be found here

    Under Local Rule 14.32 a petition to probate a foreign will must have attached to it a certified copy of the will and the order or decree admitting it to probate outside of this jurisdiction.
    If you intend to submit a foreign will with a petition for probate pursuant to this rule, (1) the foreign copy certification and (2) the foreign order or decree admitting the will to probate abroad would be the “foreign public records” to be authenticated. The will itself is usually not a public document unless it is a “notarial” will, which is not uncommon in certain foreign jurisdictions.

    The purpose of the Hague Convention was to abolish the time-consuming and burdensome process known as the chain-certificate method of document certification. Instead, the Convention provides that the only formality that may be required in order to certify the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document (e.g. the copy certification and the order admitting the will) has acted, and the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears, is the addition of the Apostille issued by the competent authority of the country from which the document emanates. The Convention creates a standardized form of a certificate of endorsement (the so called Apostille).

    Being a treaty signed under the authority of the United States the convention is the supreme law of the land which supersedes conflicting state law provisions. In other words, if the country issuing the copy certification, and the order admitting the will to probate in that country, is a member country to the Hague Convention, then the probate court in the U.S. must accept a duly issued Apostille and must note require additional formalities such as a certificate of genuineness or chain-certificate.

    International practitioners are familiar with the Hague Convention and, if done properly, the Apostille process is straightforward. Please note that additional provisions re: translations, holographic (entirely handwritten) wills, and the validity of the will under foreign law etc. may be applicable depending on the circumstances of your case.

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