On November 24, 2022, Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Marcin Czepelak and leaders of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs chaired the opening ceremony of the PCA’s Representative Office in Hanoi. Beyond its headquarters in The Hague, the PCA has opened offices in other cities to make its services more accessible in different regions. The Hanoi office will be the PCA’s fourth office outside its headquarters.
The PCA, established in 1899, is an intergovernmental organization which provides resolution services for disputes involving states, state entities, international organizations, as well as private entities. It provides and administers arbitration, mediation, conciliation, and fact-finding commissions of inquiry. The PCA’s services are primarily used in Europe and Asia. In cases administered in 2021, approximately 47% of the disputing parties were from the Western European and Others Group of the United Nations Regional Groups, and 40% from the Asia Pacific Group. The majority of disputes resolved by PCA are state-related disputes; however, the PCA’s scope of settlement is also extended to the private sector.
The PCA’s Hanoi office is staffed to administer PCA hearings and meetings and will provide administrative services in support of parties and arbitrators conducting arbitral proceedings under the PCA’s auspices, serving as the official channel of communications and ensuring safe custody of documents. The PCA can also provide such services as financial administration, logistical and technical support for meetings and hearings, travel arrangements, and general secretarial and linguistic support. Currently, Vietnam has some active members of the PCA.
The opening of the PCA representative office is a step toward realizing commitments between Vietnam and the PCA in their protocol signed in 2021, and serving the evolving dispute resolution needs of states and other entities in the coming years. With the new office in Hanoi, it is expected that parties in the region will have more options to settle their commercial disputes, in addition to the existing local arbitration institutions such as the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre (VIAC).