It is difficult to define the exact scope of consular duties and functions since consular functions are not regulated solely by international law but are based on custom, treaties, national laws and consular instructions.’ The functions of a consul may vary from case to case having regard to the needs of times and the circumstances of each case. For example, a consular official is likely to exercise much wider powers and have more extensive functions in a place where his government maintains no diplomatic mission. Again, the extent of a consul’s functions would depend largely on the provisions of the treaty or consular convention which regulate the consular relations between his home state and the receiving state. The extraterritorial powers which consuls enjoyed in some of the countries in the East until recent years were derived solely from the provisions of respective treaties and not from any rule of international law. It may be mentioned that some conventions, such as the Havana Convention 1928, leave the definition of consular functions to municipal law whilst others, like the Caracas Convention 1911, contain an exhaustive definition of consular functions. National consular regulations have employed different classifications of consular functions suited to the purpose of the state in question. Text writers have also suggested various forms of consular functions. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations has attempted a comprehensive definition of consular functions by enumerating some of the major duties and functions of a consul, but even so the definition cannot be regarded either as exhaustive or as being universally applicable. In fact, the last clause of the relevant article of the Convention makes it clear that in addition to the various consular functions enumerated in the Article a consul can perform any other functions entrusted to the consular post by the s ending state which are not prohibited by the receiving state.1


Home State Vienna Convention Diplomatic Relation Effect Service Draft Article 
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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1965

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  • B. Sen

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