The Permanent Court of Arbitration
), is an international organization
An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...
based in The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...
in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...
The court was established in 1899 as one of the acts of the first Hague Peace Conference, which makes it the oldest institution for international dispute resolution.
The creation of the PCA is set out under Articles 20 to 29 of the 1899 Hague Convention for the specific settlement of international disputes, which was a result of the first Hague Peace Conference. At the second Hague Peace Conference, the earlier Convention was revised by the 1907 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes.
As of June 2011, 112 countries are party to one or both of these founding Conventions of the PCA.
Unlike the ICJ, the PCA is not just open to states but also to other parties. The PCA provides services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.
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.” It is a permanent framework available to assist temporary arbitral tribunals or commissions.
The PCA is housed in the Peace Palace
The Peace Palace is a building situated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is often called the seat of international law because it houses the International Court of Justice , the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the extensive Peace Palace Library.In addition...
in The Hague, which was built specially for the Court in 1913 with an endowment from Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...
. From 1922 on, the building also housed the distinctly separate Permanent Court of International Justice
The Permanent Court of International Justice, often called the World Court, was an international court attached to the League of Nations. Created in 1922 , the Court was initially met with a good reaction from states and academics alike, with many cases submitted to it for its first decade of...
, which was replaced by the International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...
In the early 1980s, the PCA helped in setting up the administrative services of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal
The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal is an international arbitral tribunal established out of an agreement between Iran and the United States, under an understanding known as the Algiers Accords of January 19, 1981. The Algiers Accords were the outcome of negotiations between Iran and the United...
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 to the low number of cases dealt with between 1946 and 1990. The PCA's caseload has, however, increased since then.
The PCA administers cases arising out of international treaties (including bilateral and multilateral investment treaties), and other agreements to arbitrate. The cases conducted by the PCA span a wide range of legal issues, including disputes over territorial and maritime boundaries
Maritime boundary is a conceptual means of division of the water surface of the planet into maritime areas that are defined through surrounding physical geography or by human geography. As such it usually includes areas of exclusive national rights over the mineral and biological resources,...
, sovereignty, human rights, international investment (investor-state arbitrations), and matters concerning international and regional trade.
Hearings are rarely open to the public and sometimes even the decision itself is kept confidential at the request of the parties. Many decisions and related documents are available on the PCA website.
- Barbados v. Trinidad and Tobago
Barbados v. Trinidad and Tobago was a 2006 case between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in which the court resolved the maritime border dispute between the two countries....
- Hanish Islands conflict
- Island of Palmas Case
Island of Palmas Case, , was a case involving a territorial dispute over the Island of Palmas between the Netherlands and the United States which was heard by the Permanent Court of Arbitration...
- Abyei Arbitration
- Savarkar Case