History

The PCA was the first permanent intergovernmental organization to provide a forum for the resolution of international disputes through arbitration and other peaceful means.

The PCA was established by the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, concluded at The Hague in 1899 during the first Hague Peace Conference. The Conference had been convened at the initiative of Czar Nicolas 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.”

Among the aims of the Conference had been the strengthening of systems of international dispute resolution—especially international arbitration. The delegates at the Conference were mindful that, during the previous 100 years, there had been a number of successful international arbitrations, starting with the “Jay Treaty” Mixed Commissions at the end of the 18th century, and reaching a pinnacle with the Alabama arbitration in 1871-1872. In addition, the Insitut de Droit International had adopted a code of procedure for arbitration in 1875.

This movement toward favoring arbitration as a means of international dispute resolution was continued in 1899, and the most concrete achievement of the 1899 Conference was the establishment of the PCA as the first global mechanism for the settlement of disputes between states. Article 16 of the 1899 Convention recognized that “in questions of a legal nature, and especially in the interpretation or application of International Conventions” arbitration is the “most effective, and at the same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which diplomacy has failed to settle”.

Accordingly, Article 20 of the 1899 Convention formally established the PCA, stating:

[w]ith the object of facilitating an immediate recourse to arbitration for international differences which it has not been possible to settle by diplomacy, the signatory Powers undertake to organize a Permanent Court of Arbitration, accessible at all times and operating, unless otherwise stipulated by the parties, in accordance with the rules of procedure inserted in the present Convention.

The 1899 Convention was revised at the second Hague Peace Conference in 1907.

The 1899 and 1907 Conventions can be downloaded from the PCA Rules and Founding Conventions section.

Today the PCA provides services for the resolution of disputes involving various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.

Centenary of the 1907 Convention, October 2007

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1907 Hague Peace Conference and the 1907 Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes, a commemorative meeting of the PCA’s Administrative Council was held for PCA member states on October 18, 2007.

Commemorative Session Program

Opening by (Acting) President of the Administrative Council, H.E. Max van der Stoel, Minister of State

Presentation by Mr. Arthur Eyffinger to the President of the first copy of his publication, The 1907 Hague Peace Conference: The Conscience of the Civilized World

Brief comments by the Secretary-General, Tjaco T. van den Hout

Reflections on the Current Relevance of the PCA, in particular its Value for States, and its Prospects for the Future. Presentations by:

 Closing by the President

Peace Palace Centenary, October 2013

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of the Peace Palace, a commemorative seminar was held for Members of the Court, representatives of PCA Member States, and other invited guests on October 11, 2013.
View photograph gallery

 Peace Palace Centenary Programme

Opening by PCA Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Hugo Hans Siblesz

Presentations on Recent PCA Activities and Developments:

Inter-State Arbitrations at the PCA Download slides
Dirk Pulkowski, PCA Legal Counsel
Investor-State and other “Mixed” Arbitrations at the PCA  Download slides
Judith Levine, PCA Senior Legal Counsel
The PCA and ICCA  Download slides
Lise Bosman, PCA Senior Legal Counsel and ICCA Executive Director
Introduction to the PCA Arbitration Rules 2012 Download slides
Evgeniya Goriatcheva, PCA Assistant Legal Counsel
UNCITRAL and the PCA Download slides
Martin Doe, PCA Senior Legal Counsel
PCA Appointing Authority Procedures Download slides
Sarah Grimmer, PCA Senior Legal Counsel

 

Seminar: Confronting Global Challenges: From Gunboat Diplomacy to Investor-State Arbitration

Watch Video: Part 1
 Watch Video: Part 2
Professor Jan Paulsson Download presentation

 

Roundtable moderated by H.E. Judge Peter Tomka, President of the International Court of Justice. Presentations:

Arbitrator Challenges
Professor James Crawford AC SC
Most Favoured Nation Clauses
H.E. Judge Sir Christopher Greenwood CMG QC
Sovereign Regulatory Freedom
Professor Brigitte Stern