The PCA is an intergovernmental organization. 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 can assist in the selection of arbitrators, and may be called upon to designate or act as appointing authority.
The PCA is also a center for scholarship and publication, and a forum for legal discourse.