Entry into force

The date on which a Convention takes effect and its provisions become binding on ratifying States. The vast majority of Conventions provide that they take effect, initially, twelve months after the date on which the ratifications of two Members have been registered (‘objective’ entry into force), and thereafter, twelve months after the registration date of each subsequent ratification (‘subjective’ entry into force). 

The objective entry into force brings into effect the rights and obligations under articles 22, 24 and 26 of the Constitution and also marks the starting point for calculating time limits for denunciation. The standard number of ratifications required for a Convention to enter into force was set by default in the final provisions at two. However, many maritime Conventions require from five to 30 ratifications, while a certain number of Conventions require not only a specified number of ratifications to be registered but also stipulate that a certain number of those ratifications be registered by specific member States, or by countries with a merchant fleet of a certain size.

No time limit was specified in the first 23 Conventions which entered into force as soon as they were ratified. The Conventions adopted in 1927 provide for a period of 90 days after ratification before entry into force, while as from 1928 onwards the period for the entry into force was set at one year to allow ratifying States to bring their legislation into line with the ratified instrument. Exceptionally, a six-month period is set in many maritime Conventions, such as the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention (Revised), 2003 (No. 185) but also in the Plantations Convention, 1958 (No.110).