Historical Overwiev of Authentication in terms of the Convention for the Abolition of the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents 4.1 Authentication in terms of the Convention for the Abolition of the Requirement of Legalisation for Fore

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:56

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).57

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-

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