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General Information

The Permanent Court of Arbitration offers internships to individuals with outstanding academic records who wish to acquire work experience at an international arbitration institution. 

Interns are expected to participate to the greatest extent possible in the regular functioning of the organization. To that end, the PCA aims to offer a balance of legal and administrative assignments (e.g., case management). As such, interns gain insight into both the practical and legal aspects of international arbitration.

Of added interest is the PCA’s location in The Hague, the seat of many international tribunals and other intergovernmental organizations. Interns also have access to the renown international law collection at the Peace Palace Library.

The internship program operates year-round on a cycle of four terms of three months each. The term schedule is as follows:

Term 1 - January through March

Term 2 - April through June

Term 3 - July through September

Term 4 - October through December

Internships generally begin on the first day of the month in which the term commences and end on the last day of month in which the term closes.

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* The program is open to applicants whose qualifications exceed the minimum requirement (i.e., law degree holders, LL.M. and LL.D. candidates, practicing lawyers and other legal professionals, etc.). As a minimum, however, applicants must be qualified to enter the final year of study at an accredited law school.

* Applicants must be under the age of thirty-eight on the starting date of the term for which they are applying.

* Applicants must be fluent in either French or English, the court’s two working languages. Additional language skills are a strong advantage, especially Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

* Non-native speakers of English and/or French must present proof of proficiency in one of these languages. See “Proof of Proficiency in an PCA Working Language” section below for details.

* Though not strictly required, specialization in International Dispute Resolution, Public International Law or International Environmental Law would be an asset.

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Proof of Proficiency in a PCA Working Language

This section is intended for applicants whose first language is not French or English.

As the requirements above stipulate, applicants whose first language is neither English nor French must provide proof of proficiency in one of these languages in order to be considered for an internship.

When assessing proficiency in a PCA working language, the PCA only recognizes official results (photocopies acceptable) issued no more than two years prior to the application deadline of the following tests:

1) Test de français international (TOEIC)
    Minimum score required: 850
    For more information, see:

2) Diplôme de Français des Affaires, premier degré (DFA1)
    (Alliance Française)
    For more information, see:

1) The International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
    Minimum score required: 7
    For more information, see:

2) The Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
    Minimum score required: 600 (paper-based), or 250
    For more information, see:

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Application Procedure

There is no application form. Applicants must submit an application package consisting of the documents listed here.

* a cover letter that indicates:

i) the desired term;

ii) a short statement about how the candidate expects to benefit from the program and/or what an applicant hopes to contribute to the organization; and

iii) a description of areas of interest and knowledge of law

* curriculum vitae

* a letter of recommendation from a professor or senior professional

* copies of academic transcripts

* proof of proficiency in an PCA working language (for non-native speakers of a PCA working language only, see above)

To be considered, application packages must be complete. If all the above-listed documents are not available to the applicant before the application deadline, the missing documents may be submitted separately provided that the cover letter clearly notes an expected follow-up date.

Application packages may be submitted either electronically or in hard copy. We do recommend, however, that applicants follow-up application packages submitted electronically with a hard copy in the mail. See the “Contact” section below for the correct e-mail or postal address.

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Application Deadlines

Complete application packages can be submitted at any time up to four months prior to the beginning of the desired term.

Application deadlines are thus: 

September 1, for Term 1;

December 1, for Term 2;

March 1, for Term 3; and

June 1, for Term 4.

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The PCA is selective in its admissions policy. Because of limited places, not all qualified candidates will be offered an internship.

The PCA will endeavor to send decisions to each applicant, by mail, three months prior to the beginning of each term. Applicants are advised to inform the PCA of any change of address before decisions come due.

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Successful and unsuccessful applicants may renew their application once, and only for the term immediately following the term for which they originally applied. 

To renew an application, a renewal letter must be received at the PCA no later than thirty days following the date of the decision letter. Additional documentation for the purposes of updating the application package, if any, may be submitted up to the application deadline of the renewal term.

Applicants who

i) are twice unsuccessful; or

ii) do not state their intention to renew within the thirty-day time limit; or

iii) have declined offers of internship for two consecutive terms


must follow the “Application Procedure” (above). That is, they must submit a complete application package as though applying for the first time.

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Offers of an internship are specific to a given term. Successful applicants therefore do not have the option to defer an internship to a later term. 

Successful applicants who are unable to accept an offer of an internship are asked to inform the PCA at once. 

Applicants who decline an offer and wish to be considered for the following term must follow the renewal procedure (above).

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Other Information

The PCA is unable to return any documentation included in the application package.

Although there is no interview process, an official of the PCA may contact an applicant by telephone or e-mail if further information or clarification is required with regard to the application.

Interns are not in any respect considered officials or staff of the PCA. The PCA accepts no responsibility for costs arising from accidents and/or illness incurred during an internship. Consequently, interns are responsible for securing adequate insurance coverage.

The PCA is unable to provide interns with any remuneration or reimbursement for expenses incurred during the internship. Accordingly, applicants must have the necessary resources or other financial support for the duration of the term for which they have been selected.

There are no citizenship requirements. However, applicants are strongly advised to contact the Netherlands Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence or to consult the website of the Dutch Immigration Service (
www.ind.nl) for information about visa requirements for stays in the Netherlands.

The PCA considers the information provided on this site to be complete and will make updates as necessary. Prospective applicants who make inquiries to the PCA regarding any aspect of internships will be referred to this site.

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e-mail: applications@pca-cpa.org
postal: Internships
          Permanent Court of Arbitration
          The Peace Palace
          2517 KJ The Hague
          The Netherlands
          Fax: +31 70 302 4167

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