Remarks by Brooks Daly

By Daly, Brooks | Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law, Annual 2012 | Go to article overview

Remarks by Brooks Daly


Daly, Brooks, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law


Thank you very much. And thank you to Mayor Van Aartsen and to the American Society for organizing this event. I'm sorry that I only joined the Hague delegation today, detained in the Hague by other responsibilities, but I'm very happy to be here.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, a product of the 1899 Hague Peace Conference, is not a court in the sense of the other international courts represented on this panel. Rather, the PCA serves as a permanent framework designed to assist temporary arbitral tribunals with the conduct of proceedings. Seeking to facilitate recourse to peaceful resolution of disputes, the states assembled at the Peace Conference determined that a permanent arbitral institution would make it more likely that they would use arbitration to resolve disputes and thereby avoid recourse to arms.

The PCA was busy in its early years. Eighteen cases were brought before it in the first two decades of its existence. Nevertheless, the PCA was also immediately criticized. Some critics believed arbitral tribunals created on an ad hoc basis for each dispute could not contribute to the coherent development of international law. There was also a sense of disappointment with the 1899 Conference, and its successor 1907 Conference, that the delegations had been unable to agree on general compulsory jurisdiction for the PCA. Although only a small minority of delegates opposed compulsory jurisdiction for this new institution, the rules of the Peace Conferences required unanimity in all decisions, which prevented the establishment of compulsory jurisdiction for the PCA. In effect, states agreed to the creation of the PCA, but not to its use.

The institution's weakness was revealed with the two world wars that would follow its founding. After the Second World War, the PCA went into a period of dormancy, administering only three cases between 1956 and 1996. Its reemergence as an active international court is due in large part to its close relationship with the other courts and tribunals in The Hague. Today the PCA benefits from a level of activity unparalleled in its history, with fifty-eight pending cases: six inter-state, thirty-two investor-state, and twenty contract claims involving at least one state or state entity. Its broad mandate enables the institution to lend its services to a wide range of cases. The PCA's case administration services extend to all subject matters, so long as the parties consent to arbitration and so long as one party is a state, state entity, or intergovernmental organization.

The concentration of international jurists in The Hague has a lot to do with the renewed activity of the PCA. These leading jurists are the same individuals who are sought after to sit as arbitrators in the most sensitive disputes in the world. So they attract arbitration to The Hague, a fact that may have nothing to do with the presence of the PCA in The Hague. For example, I think that Sir Robert Jennings, as President of the Eritrea-Yemen arbitration, only thought of using the PCA as an afterthought. The arbitral tribunal was constituted and seeking secretarial support. I imagine Sir Robert, a former President of the International Court of Justice, saying: "Well, what about this PCA over here that doesn't have anything to do? Maybe we could use them."

Thus, since the 1990s, the PCA has witnessed increasing contact with the jurists based at other courts and tribunals in The Hague. In addition to these leading judges calling upon the PCA for assistance in the arbitrations where they are appointed, they have also been involved in modernizing the institution, particularly through the development of new procedural rules for the PCA. On eight occasions over the last fifteen years, groups have been established to draft new procedural rules for the PCA, including leading jurists from The Hague courts and tribunals. The most recent set of Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Outer Space Activities was produced by an advisory group chaired by the former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, showing further cooperation between the institutions. …

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