A little bit of legal history

On Monday 18 October, a little bit of legal history will be made when the first international tripartite agreement between CERN and its two Host States is signed. This agreement, which has been under negotiation since 2004, clarifies the working conditions of people employed by companies contracted to CERN. It will facilitate the management of service contracts both for CERN and its contractors.


Ever since 1965, when CERN first crossed the border into France, the rule of territoriality has applied. This means that anyone working for a company contracted to CERN whose job involves crossing the border is subject to the employment legislation of both states. The new agreement simplifies matters by making only one legislation apply per contract, that of the country in which most of the work is carried out. This is good for CERN, it’s good for the companies, and it’s good for their employees. It is something that all three parties to the agreement have wanted for some time, and I offer my heartfelt thanks to those who have made it a reality.

There’s still some way to go, however, before the change will become reality. Monday is just the first step. The agreement has still to be ratified by our two Host States’ parliaments before entering into force. This will take time, but the most difficult part of the process is now behind us.

Rolf Heuer