Fact-finding / Commissions of Inquiry

The PCA is available to provide administrative support in fact-finding commissions of inquiry involving various combinations of states, state entities, international organizations and private parties.

Since 1899, the PCA has administered five fact-finding commissions of inquiry. The first commission of inquiry involved the so-called Incident in the North Sea, or Dogger Bank Case (Great Britain/Russia). The commission was created by agreement on 15 November 1904, following an incident in which the Russian Baltic fleet mistook British vessels for Japanese war ships, resulting in British fatalities. The commission of inquiry, comprised of a committee of five, investigated the facts of the incident and indemnified the British in a report handed down on 26 February 1905.

The PCA most recently administered a commission of inquiry following the “Red Crusader” Incident (Great Britain/Denmark), which involved a British vessel that was arrested within the waters of the Faroe Islands. The commission was created by agreement on 15 November 1961, and rendered its decision a few months later, on 23 March 1962.

To facilitate the constitution and administration of fact-finding commissions of inquiry, the PCA has created the Permanent Court of Arbitration Optional Rules for Fact-Finding Commissions of Inquiry. These Optional Rules can be downloaded from the PCA Rules and Founding Conventions section. Model conciliation clauses for use in connection with these Rules can be downloaded from the Model Clauses and Submission Agreements link below.