The Peter Nygh Hague Conference Internship was established in memory of the late Hon Dr Peter Nygh AM, a leading international lawyer and former judge of the Family Court of Australia. Dr Nygh began his 25 year association with The Hague Conference as a member of Australia’s first delegation in 1975. During this time, Dr Nygh helped to draft the Convention on the Celebration and Recognition of the Validity of Marriages as well as the Convention on the Law Applicable to Matrimonial Property Regimes, work which contributed to his appointment to the Family Court of Australia.
After his retirement from the bench, Dr Nygh returned to The Hague Conference, and between 1994 and his death in 2002 he contributed in many ways, including serving as a co-rapporteur on The Hague ‘judgments project’ from 1996 and representing Australia in the negotiations that led to the 1996 Child Protection Convention. In his later years, Dr Nygh spent extended periods in The Hague without remuneration or payment of his expenses, yet his work did not go unrecognised. He was awarded the Centenary Medal by the Australian Government as well as the Order of Australia, partly in recognition of his outstanding and longstanding contribution to private international law, and in particular his representation of Australia at The Hague Conference.
While serving as President of the ILA (Australian Branch), Dr Nygh worked to promote co-operation between the Branch and the AIIA. These two organisations show their deep appreciation for his work by jointly presenting and promoting the Internship. The AIIA is an independent, non-profit, apolitical national organisation committed to the promotion of informed discussion among members of the Australian public on international issues and their impact on Australia. It provides a forum for discussion by hosting a range of Australian and international expert speakers from the political arena, government, academia, business and the media, as well as publishing the Australian Journal of International Affairs and the Australia in World Affairs book series.