Power of attorney (international law)

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A power of attorney or proxy in the international sense, in the field of international relations , a writing shall generally authorization as a diplomatic representative or negotiator acting natural person , their country compared to other countries or to international organizations responsible. This applies in particular to the activities of persons in the diplomatic service as well as the negotiation of international agreements , their signing and their ratification .

Powers of attorney for the representatives of states are usually issued as written documents bearing the state seal of the respective country. In most countries, the persons authorized to issue a power of attorney are the head of state , the head of government and the foreign minister , who are also considered ex officio as fully authorized representatives of their country. In addition to the name and office of the authorized person, a power of attorney specifies the scope of the power of attorney and any restrictions and, if applicable, the authority to issue sub- powers . Their general secretary is usually the ex officio authorized representative of international organizations . The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides in Article 7 basic agreements on diplomatic powers.

In urgent cases, the transmission of a power of attorney using various forms of telecommunication or the subsequent granting of a power of attorney is also permitted in practice. The absence of a power of attorney to sign an international treaty, by its ratification healed be. For administrative agreements as well as other contracts and acts of lesser importance, a power of attorney can also be granted by persons other than those mentioned above, for example by the competent government ministers. Furthermore, powers of attorney are not customary for agreements that come about through the exchange of diplomatic notes .


  • Power of attorney. In: Karl Strupp (Ed.), Hans-Jürgen Schlochauer (Ed.): Dictionary of international law. Second edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1962, ISBN 3-11-001032-1 ; Volume 3, pp. 784/785.
  • The ability to contract and the competence to conclude contracts. In: Georg Dahm, Jost Delbrück, Rüdiger Wolfrum: Völkerrecht. Volume I / 3. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-89-949024-X , pp. 524-535.