Permanent Court of Arbitration


Permanent Court of Arbitration | Research Guide International Law

The Permanent Court of Arbitration is an intergovernmental organization with 116 member states. Established in 1899 to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states, the PCA has developed into a modern, multi-faceted arbitral institution that is now perfectly situated at the juncture between public and private international law to meet the rapidly evolving dispute resolution needs of the international community. Today the PCA provides services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties. The PCA's Secretariat, the International Bureau, headed by its Secretary-General, provides administrative support to tribunals and commissions. Its caseload reflects the breadth of PCA involvement in international dispute resolution, encompassing territorial, treaty, and human rights disputes between states, as well as commercial and investment disputes, including disputes arising under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties. The PCA can assist in the selection of arbitrators, and may be called upon to designate or act as appointing authority. The PCA is also a center for scholarship and publication, and a forum for legal discourse.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on the Permanent Court of Arbitration. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library's systematic classification → Public international law and subject heading (keyword) Permanent Court of Arbitration are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.

Online publications released in 2016-2017

Meshel, T., “The Croatia v. Slovenia Arbitration: The Silver Lining” (July 8, 2017), Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals, 16 (2017), No. 2, Forthcoming.
Abstract: Much controversy has surrounded the recent arbitration between Croatia and Slovenia. Nonetheless, the proceedings represent a welcome step in the right direction in terms of the perception and use of arbitration as a quasi-diplomatic interstate dispute resolution mechanism. Such an approach ...

PCA Case No. 2012-04, Arbitration Between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia (June 29, 2017), Award [PDF], Press Release [PDF]
Abstract: The present arbitration concerns a territorial and maritime dispute between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Slovenia. Both are successor States to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Pursuant to the Arbitration Agreement, the course of the maritime and land boundary ...

Levine, J., “Adopting and Adapting Arbitration for Climate Change-Related Disputes - The Experience of the Permanent Court of Arbitration”, Transnational Dispute Management (23 June 2017); Chapter 3 in Dispute Resolution and Climate Change, ICC Pub no. @778E, 2017.
Abstract: Reflecting on the PCA's experience, this chapter explores what scope there is for international arbitration further to be used in the realm of climate change. Part I of the chapter provides a snapshot of the PCA's experience with international arbitration involving the environment and climate change. Part …

Meshel, T., “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment”, in Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law (EiPro), OUP. Forthcoming; MPI Luxembourg Working Paper Series, No. 1, 2017.
Abstract: In 2001 the Member States of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) adopted the Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to the Environment and/or Natural Resources. These Rules were aimed at addressing procedural deficiencies identified in dispute resolution arrangements under existing ...

Jorritsma, R., “National Groups (Permanent Court of Arbitration)” (April 1, 2017), Max Planck MPILux Working Paper Series, No. 8, 2017.
Abstract: A National Group is a group of up to four persons appointed by a Member State of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). The sum of all individuals in National Groups constitute a pool of individuals, available to act as arbitrators when appointed by States who wish to submit their disputes to arbitration ...

Sellars, K., “Rocking the Boat: The Paracels, the Spratlys, and the South China Sea Arbitration” (March 9, 2017), Chinese University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law.
Abstract: On 12 July last year, the Permanent Court of Arbitration found overwhelmingly in favour of the Philippines in its dispute with the People’s Republic of China over maritime entitlements in the South China Sea. This piece appraises the decision in light of the events leading up to the current controversy in the ...

Garimella, S. R., “Environmental Dispute Resolution, ADR Methods and the PCA Arbitration Rules” (September 8, 2016), ILI Law Review, (Summer 2016), pp. 199-222.
Abstract: Little success in the implementation of the international environmental law regime could, amongst others, be attributed to the absence of clarity in the dispute settlement mechanism and also a clearly identified institution for such dispute settlement. While the law has evolved in addressing the ...

Oxman, B., “The South China Sea Arbitration Award” (September 6, 2016).
Abstract: On January 22, 2013, the Philippines submitted to arbitration its dispute with China regarding the interpretation and application of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in the South China Sea. China declined to participate, but did communicate its position on jurisdiction and certain other matters. On ...

PCA Case Nº 2013-19, South China Sea Arbitration between the Philippines and China (July 12, 2016). Award [PDF], Press Release No. 11 [PDF]
Abstract: This arbitration concerns the role of historic rights and the source of maritime entitlements in the South China Sea, the status of certain maritime features and the maritime entitlements they are capable of generating, and the lawfulness of certain actions by China that were alleged by the Philippines to violate ...

Talmon, S.A.G., “Objections Not Possessing an 'Exclusively Preliminary Character' in the South China Sea Arbitration” (June 16, 2016), Journal of Territorial and Maritime Studies ,3 (2016), Forthcoming; Bonn Research Papers on Public International Law No 10/2016.
Abstract: The Award on Jurisdiction and Admissibility in the Arbitration between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China is remarkable in that the Tribunal found with respect to 7 of the Philippines’ 15 submissions that a determination of its jurisdiction would involve consideration of ...

Meshel, T., “Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment” (April 1, 2016), Max Planck Encyclopedia of International Procedural Law (EiPro) to be published online by Oxford University Press, Forthcoming; Working Paper 1, MPI Luxembourg Working Paper Series 2017.
Abstract: In 2001 the Member States of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (‘PCA’) adopted the Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to the Environment and/or Natural Resources (‘Arbitration Rules’). The PCA provides services for the resolution of international disputes and in particular serves as a ...

Meshel, T., “The Permanent Court of Arbitration and the Peaceful Resolution of Transboundary Freshwater Disputes” (January 15, 2016), ESIL Reflections, 5 (January 2016), No. 1.
Abstract: States faced with transboundary freshwater disputes may be reluctant to submit them to purely ‘legal’ resolution by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In light of the limitations of both non-binding mechanisms and judicial settlement by the ICJ, this reflection aims to explore the potential for arbitration ...


Reference works




Periodicals, serial publications


New titles

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Librarian's choice

  • Daly, B.W. (et al.), A Guide to the PCA Arbitration Rules, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    Daly, B.W. (et al.), A Guide to the PCA Arbitration Rules, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014.

    This is a guide to and commentary on the new procedural rules for arbitration adopted by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in December 2012. The PCA is a unique arbitral institution - an intergovernmental organization counting over one hundred member states - with a rapidly growing annual caseload of arbitrations involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties. The 2012 PCA Rules are the most recent set of arbitral rules from any institution, and constitute a consolidation of four sets of PCA Rules drafted in the 1990s, and updated in light of PCA experience and the revision of other procedural regimes. They include special provisions adapted to arbitrations involving public entities and a number of novel provisions drafted on the basis of the PCA's experience administering arbitrations. In recent years, the PCA caseload has expanded to the extent that the total amount in dispute in PCA cases is estimated to be greater than that in any other arbitral institution, increasing the need for a comprehensive guide to arbitration under its auspices. This text benefits from the unparalleled insights of its three co-authors, all of whom are PCA lawyers, one of whom is the Deputy Secretary-General of the PCA, and a member of the drafting committee for the 2012 PCA Rules. An introductory chapter, describing the mandate for the revised rules from the PCA member states, as well as the drafting process itself, is followed by a rule-by-rule analysis following the familiar structure of the rules themselves. This analysis is split into four sections: the introductory rules; the composition of the arbitral tribunal; arbitral proceedings; and the award. The comprehensive appendices are intended to reduce the need for recourse to other materials and provide a stand-alone resource.

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  • Indlekofer, M., International Arbitration and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2013.

    Indlekofer, M., International Arbitration and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2013.

    The modern tendency to restrict international arbitration to matters of  commerce and investment is succumbing to a renewed recognition of the original  impetus for dispute resolution by arbitration – i.e., matters of public  international law, most importantly the settlement of disputes that pose a  threat of international conflict. Recent developments suggest a renaissance of  public international arbitration, most clearly manifested in the present  flourishing of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the oldest existing  dispute settlement institution in international law. As the calls for the development of new and more appropriate methods for  dispute settlement in international law increased during the 1990s, the PCA  undertook a structural reform and is today a vital forum for dispute  settlement, with scores of arbitrations currently pending under its auspices.  This book – the most comprehensive study of the institution to date, covering  its history, its present status, and its future prospects – proves the PCA’s  contemporary relevance within the international dispute settlement framework.

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  • Book Review: War, Peace and International Order?

    This book attempts to assess the history and on-going relevance of the 1899 and 1907 Hague peace conferences, the conventions they brought into being, the institutions they established and the precedents they set. The exact legacies of the two conferences remain unclear. On the one hand, diplomatic and military historians, who cast their gaze to 1914, traditionally dismiss the events of 1899 and 1907 as insignificant footnotes on the path to the First World War. On the other, experts in international law posit that The Hague’s foremost legacy lies in the manner in which the conferences progressed the law of war and the concept and application of international justice.

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  • Building a 'Temple for Peace': the Choice of the Site

    The Treaty for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded on 29 July 1899, determined that the newly created Permanent Court of Arbitration was to be established at The Hague. As Andrew Carnegie’s gift of 1903 was meant primarily for the erection of a new and appealing court house and library to serve its arbiters, there could be no argument, as to where this ‘Temple for Peace’ was to be built. It should be at The Hague. But where in The Hague precisely was quite another thing.

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    When the Peace Palace opened its doors on August 28, 1913, the openings ceremony was attended by approximately 500 guests from different corners of the world. Have you ever been curious to find out who was there that day, what they wore, what music was played during the ceremony? We will take a close look at the events on that historical day and share with you the amazing footage of some of the most prominent guests in attendance.

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    The Carnegie Foundation, the owner and keeper of the Peace Palace, has taken the initiative to publish a book to mark the Centenary of the Peace Palace. This book, aimed at the general public, reflects on the role the Peace Palace has played in the history of war and peace in the 20th Century. It also portrays the occupants of the Peace Palace in 2013.

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See also

More Research guides on Settlement of International Disputes

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