The International Law Association (ILA) was founded in Brussels in 1873. Its objectives, under its Constitution, are “the study, clarification and development of international law, both public and private, and the furtherance of international understanding and respect for international law”. The ILA has consultative status, as an international non-governmental organisation, with a number of the United Nations specialised agencies. The ILA has its headquarters in London.
The main activity of the ILA is organising a biennial Conference, which is held in a different country each time and organised by one of the national branches. The Conference was held in The Netherlands more than once, for the first time before the NVIR came into existence in 1910, and more recently in 1970 and again in 2010, when the Society celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The main objective of the ILA Conferences is to discuss the (interim) reports of the various ILA Committees and Study Groups. Each ILA Committee consists of a limited number of persons. Each national ILA Branch is entitled to nominate one or more members. The Executive Council of the ILA appoints the members of each Committee and Study Group. The number of members a National Branch may nominate depends on how many members it has. At the moment the KNVIR is entitled to nominate two (2) members for each Committee.
If you are interested in becoming a member of an ILA Committee, you may indicate your interest by writing to the Board via the e-mail address of the KNVIR. The Board decides which nominations are submitted to the Executive Council for its approval. Please contact the Chairman or the Secretary of the KNVIR for further information.
Each Committee has its own work schedule and may meet anywhere in the world. Every two years the Committees prepare a report, which is discussed during the biennial ILA Conference. At that time each ILA member has the right to comment on these reports. The Committee reports are published with the proceedings of each ILA Conference. The individual Committee reports and resolutions adopted at Conferences published since 2000 are available for downloading on the ILA website.
When a Committee concludes its activities, usually after six to eight years of study and debate, the results of its efforts are translated into a draft convention, a directive, a code of conduct, a declaration of principles or any other suitable format. This document is then submitted to the biennial ILA Conference in the form of a resolution. If the resolution is adopted, this will represent the opinion of the ILA concerning the desired development of international law. The resolutions adopted by the ILA are submitted to those who, in an international context, are involved in negotiations about new legal instruments and the application of existing rules of international law.
A current list of the ILA Committees may be found here. If you click on the name of a Committee, you will be linked to a page with information regarding that Committee, including names of officers and members, as well as links to documents, such as conference reports.
All members of the ILA may attend the biennial Conferences. Non-members also are welcome to attend, but they will pay higher admission fees.
The most recent ILA Conferences were held in Johannesburg (August 2016) and Sydney (August 2018). The next ILA Conference will be held in Kyoto from 23 to 27 August 2020.
In the years in which there is no worldwide ILA Conference, smaller (“regional”) conferences or meetings are often organised. Information regarding these regional conferences may be found on the ILA website.