Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find information on PCA cases?
Can the PCA provide legal advice or assistance to parties wishing to bring a case?
No. The PCA is an intergovernmental organization devoted chiefly to the administration of international dispute resolution proceedings. The PCA’s involvement in administering such proceedings is predicated upon the consent of the parties to resolve a particular dispute through the dispute resolution procedures the PCA offers, such as arbitration, conciliation, and fact-finding procedures. The PCA is required to remain neutral and does not offer legal advice or assistance to parties in these proceedings. Parties should instead seek advice and assistance from qualified legal professionals. For more information on the mandate and function of the PCA is available in the About Us section of our website.
Is there a list from which arbitrators are appointed?
No. When the PCA appoints an arbitrator, it is not restricted to appointing individuals on any particular list. The PCA will appoint the individual it considers most appropriate, subject to the parties’ agreement and the rules governing the arbitration. Nor are parties to PCA arbitrations required to appoint arbitrators from any given list.
Nonetheless, the International Bureau of the PCA does maintain an official list of potential arbitrators known as the “Members of the Court” of the PCA. Pursuant to the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, each PCA Member State may designate a maximum of four persons, “of known competency in questions of international law, of the highest moral reputation, and disposed to accept the duties of arbitrator.” Members of the Court are appointed for six years, and their appointment may be renewed. An up-to-date list of Members of the Court is published each year in the PCA’s Annual Report and on the PCA’s website here. Individuals interested in serving as Members of the Court should approach their home governments regarding their potential designation.
Can the PCA administer cases with a legal seat of arbitration other than the Hague or with hearings taking place elsewhere than The Hague?
Yes. The PCA provides full registry services to arbitral tribunals at locations around the world. In addition to its headquarters in the Peace Palace in The Hague, the PCA also has facilities in Argentina, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Mauritius, and Singapore available for PCA-administered proceedings. Recent cases have also had seats of arbitration or hearing and meetings held at other locations around the world, including Bogota, Brussels, Cologne, Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Geneva, Houston, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, Paris, São Paulo, Stockholm, Vienna, Washington D.C., Windhoek, Zagreb, and Zurich.
Can the PCA administer cases in languages other than English or French?
Yes. The PCA can administer an arbitration in any language agreed by the parties to the case. The languages of the proceedings in recent cases have included Arabic, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Is it possible to have an arbitration at the PCA between two private parties?
The PCA is an intergovernmental organization devoted chiefly to the administration of international dispute resolution proceedings involving at least one state, state-controlled entity, or intergovernmental organization. As such, the PCA does not seek to provide full administrative services in disputes exclusively between private parties. However, the PCA Secretary-General will designate appointing authorities in cases between private parties under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (in accordance with the role he is given under those rules). The PCA Secretary-General will also act directly as appointing authority in UNCITRAL Rules cases or other cases where the parties so agree.
With respect to the PCA’s own procedural rules, any parties can agree to the PCA’s 2012 Arbitration Rules, but where there is no state, state-controlled entity, or intergovernmental organization, the Secretary-General may limit the administrative support provided by the PCA to the appointing authority function. An exception among the PCA’s procedural rules is that of the PCA Optional Rules for Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and/or the Environment which do not exclude use by two private parties. They were drafted in this manner in view of the strong public interest in efficiently resolving any disputes relating to the environment. Many contracts relating to emissions trading in implementation of clean development mechanisms and referring disputes for resolution under those rules have been entered into by various combinations of private and public entities, including contracts between two private parties.
Are PCA hearings public?
PCA hearings are often private and confidential, although public hearings are held from time to time, depending on the rules governing the arbitration. The recordings of some past public hearings are also available to be viewed on the PCA website, including for example the hearings in the Abyei Arbitration (The Government of Sudan / The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army) and Bilcon of Delaware et al v. Government of Canada.
How is the confidentiality or transparency of a case determined?
The level of confidentiality in PCA proceedings may be prescribed by the rules governing the arbitration or may be subsequently agreed between the parties and the tribunal. These rules usually determine which documents are made public, as well as the timing of such disclosures.
What are the costs of arbitration at the PCA?
The costs of arbitration vary from case to case. To promote maximum flexibility in each case, the PCA has no fixed fee schedule. The PCA assists the parties and tribunal in finding a fee arrangement that is most appropriate for the case.
How do I find out about employment or internship opportunities at the PCA?
Information on the PCA’s internship/fellowship program and any current vacancies can be found on the Employment page of our website, which presents complete information about the Program/Vacancy requirements and application procedures.
Is the PCA able to provide free copies of its publications or other materials?
No. The PCA is an intergovernmental organization designed to assist its member states with international dispute resolution. The PCA is not in a position to provide any free materials.
Can the PCA provide assistance with academic research?
No. The PCA is an intergovernmental organization designed to assist its member states with international dispute resolution. Unfortunately, our limited resources do not enable us to provide general research assistance on arbitration beyond what is provided on the PCA’s website.