Permanent Court of Arbitration

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For other international tribunals in the Hague, see Hague Tribunal.
Permanent Court of Arbitration
Cour permanente d'arbitrage
Permanent Court of Arbitration - Cour permanente d'arbitrage.svg
Seal of the court
Established 1899
Country Worldwide, 119 parties
Location The Hague, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°05′12″N 4°17′44″E / 52.0866°N 4.2955°E / 52.0866; 4.2955
Authorized by Hague Peace Conference
Seat of the PCA: The Peace Palace ("Vredespaleis"), The Hague.
Parties of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
  according to the convention of 1907
  according to the convention of 1899
  not a party
PCA courtroom.
Prinsegracht 71, The Hague, a building dating from about 1728, which was the seat of the PCA between 1901 and 1913, when the construction of the Peace Palace was completed.
North Atlantic Fisheries Arbitration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Prinsegracht 71, The Hague, 1910.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an international organization based in the Peace Palace, The Hague, the Netherlands. It is not a court, does not have permanent judges, and should not be confused with the International Court of Justice, a separate institution also in the Peace Palace. The PCA is a permanent bureaucracy that assists temporary tribunals to resolve disputes among states (and similar entities), intergovernmental organizations, or even private parties arising out of international agreements. The cases span a range of legal issues involving territorial and maritime boundaries, sovereignty, human rights, international investment, and international and regional trade.

The court was established in 1899 by the first Hague Peace Conference. The Peace Palace was built for the Court in 1913 with funds from American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Since 1922, the building has also housed the separate Permanent Court of International Justice, which was replaced by the International Court of Justice in 1946.


The PCA is not a “court" in the conventional understanding of that term but an administrative organization with the object of having permanent and readily available means to serve as the registry for purposes of international arbitration and other related procedures, including commissions of enquiry and conciliation.[1] The judges or arbitrators that hear cases are officially called "Members" of the Court.

The public at large is usually more familiar with the International Court of Justice than with the Permanent Court of Arbitration, partly because of the closed nature of cases handled by the PCA and also the small number of cases dealt with between 1946 and 1990. Sometimes even the decision itself is kept confidential at the request of the parties. Many decisions and related documents are available on the PCA's website. The court's caseload has increased since then.[2]


The court is one of the oldest institutions for international dispute resolutions. The court was established in 1899 by the first Hague Peace Conference under Articles 20 to 29 of the 1899 Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. At the second Hague Peace Conference, the earlier Convention was revised by the 1907 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes. The Conference was convened at the initiative of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia "with the object of seeking the most objective means of ensuring to all peoples the benefits of a real and lasting peace, and above all, of limiting the progressive development of existing armaments."[citation needed]


As of November 2015, 119 countries are party to one or both of the founding Conventions of the PCA.[3] See List of parties to the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 for a full list of parties, past and present.


Croatia–Slovenia border-disputes scandal[edit]

On 22 July 2015, a scandal occurred during the arbitration of Croatia–Slovenia border disputes. A Croatian daily newspaper reported that it had transcripts and audio recordings[8] of a Slovenian judge on the arbitration panel consulting with a case representative of the Slovenian government, Simona Drenik. According to these documents, the Slovenian judge leaked secret communication to Slovenia and pressured the other panel members (Gilbert Guillaume (France), Bruno Simma (Germany) and Vaughan Lowe (UK)) to rule in Slovenia's favor. While there is some evident that information was leaked (e.g. when the Slovenianmiinister of foreign affairs, Karl Erjavec, disclosed confidential information about a decision),[9] the court's internal investigation showed no leak occurred.[citation needed] On 23 July 2015, Jernej Sekolec resigned, and a day later, Simona Drenik resigned.[10] On 28 July 2015 Slovenia appointed Ronny Abraham, the president of International Court of Justice as its choice on arbitration panel.[11] On 29 July 2015, the Croatian parliament voted unanimously to begin the cancellation of the arbitration agreement. Eight days later, Ronny Abraham also resigned from this arbitration case.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shabtai Rosenne, "The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 and International Arbitration: Reports and Documents", T.M.C. Asser Press (2001), page xxi.
  2. ^ Sir Kenneth Keith ONZ QBE QC, "Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration" in Timothy L.H. McCormack & Cheryl Saunders, ed., Sir Ninian Stephen: A Tribute, Miegunnyah Press (2007), p. 174. See also Permanent Court of Arbitration 106th Annual Report, p.1, available at
  3. ^ Member States
  4. ^ Judge George H. Aldrich, "The Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal" in P. Hamilton et al., ed., The Permanent Court of Arbitration: International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, Kluwer Law International (1999), p. 208.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ award on PCA website
  7. ^ award on PCA website
  8. ^ "EKSKLUZIVNO Donosimo audiosnimku razgovora arbitra i slovenske predstavnice! Poslušajte!". Večernji list. 22 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "ARBITRAŽA ĆE BITI U KORIST SLOVENIJE? 'Imam informacije da će nam dati kontakt s otvorenim morem'". Jutarnji list. 22 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Slovenski član Arbitražnog suda Jernej Sekolec podnio ostavku, ostavku ponudila i Simona Drenik!". Večernji list. 23 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Ronny Abraham je novi arbiter". 28 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "Ronny Abraham odstopil kot arbiter". 5 August 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hudson, Manley O. (June 1943). "Chapter 1. The Permanent Court of Arbitration". The Permanent Court of International Justice 1920-1942 (A Treatise). New York: The Macmillan Company. pp. 3–36 Sections 1–32.  - The relevant chapter includes information about a number of cases referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

External links[edit]