Permanent Court of Arbitration

Outline of the organisation

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental organisation with 121 Contracting Parties. 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 organisations, and private parties.

The PCA's Secretariat, known as 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.

Positions available

The PCA offers two types of internships. Applicants should clearly indicate in their application whether they are applying to the PCA Internship Program, the PCA-ICCA Internship Program, or both.

(1) PCA Internship Program

Under the PCA Internship Program, the PCA offers internships within its International Bureau to law students and recent graduates who wish to gain experience at an international arbitration institution. Internships offer a balance of legal and administrative assignments, allowing interns to gain insight into both the legal and practical aspects of international arbitration.

PCA Internships last for three months and start at the beginning of January, April, July, and October.

(2) PCA-ICCA Internship Program

In addition to internships with the PCA’s International Bureau, the PCA also offers internships in association with the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA). PCA-ICCA interns will undertake legal research, legal editing and organisational tasks, including work on ICCA publications, ICCA outreach projects (such as ICCA’s work worldwide on harmonisation in the implementation of the 1958 New York Convention) and Young ICCA seminars and projects. PCA-ICCA interns do not engage in arbitration case work conducted under the auspices of the PCA.

PCA-ICCA internships last for three months and start in January, April, and October.


Successful internship candidates are usually those who have recently graduated law school with top marks. However, applications are also accepted from law students who are entering their final year of law school, as well as recent graduates who have some professional experience or are engaging in advanced law studies.

Fluency in either French or English is essential. Additional language skills are a strong advantage, especially Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

Candidates need not have a specialisation in international dispute resolution or public international law, but should at least have demonstrated an interest in these fields.

Application process

Interested applicants should send their applications at least four months in advance of the relevant starting date, ie:

  • Term 1: January through March (deadline 1 September).
  • Term 2: April through June (deadline 1 December).
  • Term 3: July through September (deadline 1 March).
  • Term 4: October through December (deadline 1 June).

Send an email to indicating the desired start date in the subject line and attaching a single PDF comprising an application package with the following documents:

  • A cover letter indicating how you expect to benefit from the program, how can contribute to the PCA, and describing areas of interest and knowledge of law;
  • A CV;
  • A letter of recommendation from a professor or senior professional;
  • Copies of academic transcripts; and
  • Proof of proficiency in English or French (for non-native speakers).

Internships are self-funded. An intern must have adequate financial resources and health insurance for the term to be eligible.

If you are selected and you require a travel visa to take up the internship, the PCA will provide documentation in support of your application.

Although interns are not formally considered staff members of the PCA, they participate in the PCA’s activities as members of the International Bureau.

For more information, please visit here.