Historical overview of the Hague Conventionabolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documentsTS

1. Historical overview

On 5 October 1961 at The Hague, a number of countries entered into a convention for the abolition of the requirement of the diplomatic of consular legalisation for foreign documents. It was signed in French and in English in a as single copy of which a certificate copy was sent to each of contracting states.

On 30 April 1995 the Republic of South Africa became a party to The Hague Convention with the following states:

2. Contents of the Convention

The Convention provides that the only Formality that is required in order to certify the authenticity of a signature, is the addition of a certificate (describe as an ‘Apostille’) issued by a ‘competent authority’ of the state from which the document emanates (article 3).

Each convention state must designate the authorities competent t issue the certificate and must give notice of such designation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands – (article 6)

3. Authorities competent to issue the certificate

South Africa designated the following authorities competent to issue the certificate:

1. Any magistrate or additional magistrate.

2. Any registrar or assistant registrar of the High Court of South Africa.

3. Any person designated by the Director-General: Justice.

4. Any person designated by the Director- General: Foreign Affairs.

4. Rules applicable to the certificate

The certificate must be placed on the document itself (i.e., on the reverse or front of a page) or on an ‘allonge’ (a separate page) incorporated therewith-(article 4).

The title ‘Apostille’ (Convention de La Haye du October 1961) must be in the French language-

Apostille Section Website Link

Loftus Versveld Northern Pavillion (Gate12), 2nd Floor Office 4, 416 Kirkness Street, Arcadia, Pretoria
Tel: 087 0010 733
Cell: 084 316 3765
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