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Permanent Court of Arbitration

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
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[Permanent Court of Arbitration]
image by Zachary Harden, 29 March 2022

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About the Organization

The PCA is an intergovernmental organization with over one hundred 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 full registry services and legal and 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 is housed in the Peace Palace in The Hague, which was built specially for the Court in 1913 with an endowment from Andrew Carnegie. From 1922 on, the building also housed the distinctly separate Permanent Court of International Justice, which was replaced by the International Court of Justice in 1946.

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.
Zoltán Horváth, 5 March 2010

Organization flag

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) has a flag which is different from the UN one. This flag has the PCA seal in white on a UN blue flag. Please see the nice attached photo and the links below showing the flag

I hope that readers, particularly any near The Hague, can provide more back up and a flag image. The seal I mentioned for the PCA and its flag is shown in white on the top of the PCA pages and on the main intro page...
Ben Cahoon, 29 May 2009

1998 proposal

[Permanent Court of Arbitration]
image by Pascal Gross, 22 December 1999


On 13 October 1998, the Administrative Council adopted a design for a flag of the PCA, selected by a working group out of some 160 competing entries from around the world. The winning design came from Ms. Faith Tay Suan Koon, an art student from Singapore. The PCA flag has a blue background with two white bands at the top and bottom. This symbolizes that the parties involved in disputes come to the PCA with sincerity to work out a peaceful resolution of their dispute. At the center of the flag is a diamond-shaped symbol, that may be interpreted as a simplified image of one of the elements of the PCA emblem, namely the "eye" which means wisdom and awareness. This symbol is surrounded by two crossed olive branches which may be regarded as a symbol for peace and arbitration. The artist attended the inauguration ceremony of the flag, which took place at the Peace Palace in The Hague on 8 April 1999, during a meeting of the Administrative Council.
Pascal Gross, 22 December 1999