On 24 November 2017, the Belgian Official Gazette published the Law of 30 March 2017 approving the Convention (No. 34) on the issue of multilingual and coded extracts from civil-status records and multilingual and coded civil-status certificates.
The Convention aims to facilitate the international circulation of civil-status documents for persons required to provide proof of their civil status in a country other than the State of registration.
The Convention applies to the issue of multilingual and coded extracts from the following civil-status records:
- acknowledgments of a child
- registered partnerships
- multilingual and coded certificate confirming the registration of a partnership by a public authority other than a civil registrar.
The Convention shall replace Convention (No 16), signed at Vienna on 8 September 1976, limited to civil-status records related to births, marriages and deaths.
The extracts and certificates will be issued in conformity with the ICCS models.
The extracts and certificates will be accepted without legalization or equivalent formality in each of the Contracting States.
Documents currently issued by local administrations in Belgium, are prepared in conformity with the Convention (No 16).
State of play
Adopted in Bern on 26 September 2013, the Convention (No. 34) was signed by three States (Belgium, Germany and Spain) at Strasbourg on 14 March 2014. Switzerland and France signed in Berne, near the depositary, respectively on 22 April 2014 and 12 February 2015.
As laid down by Article 12, “This Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the fourth month following the month of deposit of the second instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by two ICCS member States.”
Any ICCS (International Commission of Civil Status) member State may accede to the Convention, and after its entry into force, any other State.
Belgium, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey are members of the ICCS, Cyprus, the Holy See, Lithuania, Moldova, Peru, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia and Sweden. States with observer status.
On 26 June 2017, Belgium was the first State to ratify the Convention (No. 34). No other States have ratified the Convention.
The instruments of “acceptance” or “approval” of a treaty have the same legal effect as ratification and consequently express the consent of a state to be bound by a treaty. [Arts.2 (1) (b) and 14 (2), Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969]
“Accession” is the act whereby a state accepts the offer or the opportunity to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states. It has the same legal effect as ratification. Accession usually occurs after the convention has entered into force. [Arts.2 (1) (b) and 15, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969].
- Convention (No 16), shall be replaced by the Convention (No 34), is currently into force in 24 States only.
- Convention (No 16) shall remain in force between the States party thereto as long as one of them continues to be bound by that instrument alone.
- Article 11 Convention (No 34) provides for the right not to apply the Convention to extracts or certificates concerning marriages of persons of the same sex and registered partnerships or one or more forms thereof.
The extension of the scope of the Convention (No 16) to other events affecting civil status, might have a limited impact.
However, a wide ratification of the Convention (No 34), by ICCS member States and accession by other States, would result in reducing administrative burden and cost related to immigration procedures.
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