Consular Law

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Consular Law


the body of principles and norms (of domestic legislation as well as of international law) regulating the activities of consuls.

Every state defines the scope of the functions of its consular representatives, taking into account the legislation of the host country. The main sources of consular law are the many consular agreements concluded by individual countries defining the legal status of consuls and laying down the basic rules under which they function. Provisions regulating consular activity are contained in treaties dealing with trade and navigation, legal assistance, and social security. In the 20th century several multilateral agreements were concluded that to some extent codified the treaty practices of different states with respect to consular questions, for example, the Caracas Convention on Consular Functions of 1911 and the Hague Convention on Consular Officials of 1928. The code of consular law is the multilateral Vienna Convention of 1963 on Consular Relations, which defines the privileges, immunities, and basic functions of career consuls, as well as the legal status of honorary consuls.

The activity of Soviet consuls abroad is regulated by Soviet legislation and by agreements on consular questions concluded by the USSR. Existing legislation on questions of consular law includes rules defining the status of foreign consuls in the USSR, contained in the Statute on Diplomatic and Consular Missions of Foreign States on the Territory of the USSR of May 23, 1966 (part two), in the Basic Principles of Civil Procedure of the USSR and Union Republics of 1961, and in the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on Local Taxes and Fees of April 10, 1942. The basic legislative instrument defining the legal status and functions of the Soviet consular representatives abroad is the Consular Charter of the USSR of January 8,1926 (with amendments and supplements). A number of provisions concerning the responsibilities of Soviet consuls are also contained in the Basic Principles of Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics of 1968 on Marriage and the Family, in the codes on marriage and the family of the Union republics, in the Maritime Code of the USSR, and in the Statute on the State Notariate.

The Soviet Union has concluded special consular conventions with Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, the German Democratic Republic, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the Korean Democratic People’s Republic, the People’s Republic of China, the Mongolian People’s Republic, Poland, Rumania, Austria, Great Britain, Italy, Finland, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the USA, Sweden, and Japan.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Transnat'l 257, 264 (1998), quoting from Luke Lee, Consular Law and Practice 3-7 (2nd ed., 1991), at 27.
(14.) See Luke Lee, Consular Law and Practice 3-7 (2d ed., 1991); 1 Oppenheim's International Law 1132-34 (Robert Jennings & Arthur Watts eds., 9th ed.