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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Tomov & Tomov

04 April 2018

The Bulgarian firm regularly defends its home state in investment disputes, often pairing up with White & Case

People in Who’s Who Legal 1
Pending cases as counsel 7
Value of pending counsel work US$1 billion
Treaty cases 7

The boutique firm was founded in 1993 by Lazar Tomov in Sofia and specialises in arbitration, litigation and complex financial transactions. Tomov himself balances his work as counsel with a thriving practice as an arbitrator, having been appointed to more than 100 panels. His counsel work has included ICSID, ICC and UNCITRAL proceedings, as well as disputes under the auspices of the Arbitration Court of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The firm’s other partner is Sylvia Steeva.

Tomov & Tomov is best known for representing Bulgaria in some of its earliest investment treaty cases, in collaboration with international counsel White & Case. This pairing started in 2003 with the successful defence of the state against a US$280 million claim by Cyprus’s Plama Consortium under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). It was the first ICSID case under the ECT to reach a ruling on the merits, with a 2008 award concluding that the investor had made fraudulent misrepresentations.

The same co-counsel team has achieved a string of further successes. In a pair of commercial arbitrations involving Bulgaria, they helped the state win a substantial ICC award against a private equity fund in 2012 and defeat an ICC claim by a Swedish engineering company at the jurisdictional phase in 2014 (the award was later upheld in the French courts).

Tomov & Tomov has collaborated to great effect with other GAR 100 firms. Together with Sidley Austin, it defended Bulgaria against a €60 million treaty claim at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The tribunal dismissed the claim on jurisdictional grounds and awarded the state costs. Tomov & Tomov then co-counselled with German firm Hanefeld to have the award enforced in Germany, and with De Brauw to defend a set-aside action in the Dutch courts that was ultimately abandoned by the investor.

More recently, it has teamed up with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer to defend Bulgaria in two pending ICSID matters: an ECT claim by Czech energy group CEZ and a claim by Oman’s largest sovereign wealth fund concerning an investment in a collapsed bank.

It is also helping White & Case on two other ECT cases against Bulgaria at ICSID, brought by Czech investor Energo-Pro and Austria’s EVN.

Client comment

One user of the firm’s services praises its strategic judgement and thoroughness. “They approach every legal issue with legal knowledge, diligence and dedication,” the client says. The fees are reasonable, and Lazar Tomov is an “outstanding litigator”.

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