GAR 100 - 7th Edition

Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen

Professional notice

A long-running ICSID case for Romania reached an end

Pending cases as counsel:
Value of pending counsel work:
US$1 billion
Treaty cases:
Current arbitrator appointments:
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:

Even before he created an arbitration group within his law firm, Ion Nestor had a strong personal feeling for the power of arbitration in society – even a Communist-era one. His father had helped establish the country’s first institutional arbitration body – the 1953 committee – which was attached to the Romanian Chamber of Commerce.

Following the 1989 revolution, foreign investment became essential – even as the country struggled to implement free market principles. Arbitration became an important economic tool during that period and, as a result, Romanian firms that grew up then – such as Nestor Nestor – are well versed in it.

The practice is led by Ana Diculescu-Sova and Simona Neagu. Professor and former Constitutional Court judge Viorel-Mihai Ciobanu joined the firm as counsel in 2008. He also served as president of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration at the Romanian Chamber of Commerce from 2009 to 2012. He sits as arbitrator and has heard over 400 cases (both domestic and international) over his career.

Ciobanu works closely with partner Sorina Olaru (neé Cretu), who joined the firm as a lateral hire from rival Stoica & Asociatii. Olaru was recently promoted to equity partner along with Simona Neagu and Emil Bivolaru.

Who uses it?

The Romanian government has been using the firm (together with Freshfields) on a long-running ICSID case that concluded in late 2013 (see below).

Other clients have included energy producer Electrocentrale Bucharest, investment fund Bluehouse Capital, Dutch consultancy Vapro and US construction group Bechtel.

Track record

In 2008, Sorina Cretu successfully defended British engineering group JacobsGibb against a claim about motorway repairs started by a Romanian state entity.

In another matter, the firm teamed up with Hogan Lovells to help US client Bechtel settle an ICC claim against Romania’s national motorway company, CNADNR, in 2011.

The firm also had success when a tribunal dismissed a US$70 million claim against its client Aurora Business brought by Credit Bank Europe.

A FIDIC-based dispute saw the firm obtain a win for Star Project Development in an ICC arbitration against All Plan Construction.

The firm also has a strong track record on enforcement matters in the Romanian courts. In 2012, the firm helped Arlyn enforce an LCIA award worth more than €70 million, and achieved similar results for Spanish stainless steel equipment maker Portinox and Swedish adhesives company Scandstick.

Recent events

After eight years of proceedings, a marathon ICSID case ended unhappily in December 2013, with Romania – represented by Freshfields and Nestor Nestor – ordered to pay around US$250 million to naturalised Swedish brothers Ioan and Viorel Micula and three companies they own. The award – which consists of around US$116 million in damages and an even larger amount in interest – held the state liable for the withdrawal of economic incentives. The claimants had originally sought more than €500 million.

The firm counselled Asmita Gardens in proceedings arising from a FIDIC construction contract. The value of the parties’ claims exceeded €46 million.

An ongoing FIDIC case sees the firm advise SC Tehnoclima in arbitration proceedings arising from insurance claims by an employer worth some €18 million.

Together with WalderWyss, NNDKP is also advising local manufacturer Forsev in an ICC case over shipments of allegedly defective products.

Associate Stefan Dudas left for another Romanian firm in the GAR 100, Leaua & Asociatii.

When deciding to create a special practice centered on arbitration matters, NNDKP founding partner Ion I. Nestor had as model the dedication of his and the profession’s antecessors and intended to continue their work and bring to life their ambitious dreams of equity and justice.

Hence, the roots of our arbitration practice are found in the history of Romanian Arbitration in the early sixties, when Prof. Ion Nestor, father of Ion I. Nestor, acted as one of the founding members of the Arbitration Committee, the first institutional arbitration body for foreign trade, associated with the Romanian Chamber of Commerce.

The year 2006 marked a significant moment in NNDKP’s arbitration practice, as the firm’s arbitration team, under the coordination of Senior Partner Manuela Nestor, working in cooperation with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, started providing assistance in the ICSID case initiated by European Foods. A decision in this case is still pending.

In consolidating our existing team, in 2008 we added to our team the expertise of Prof. Ciobanu, a highly respected arbitrator and teacher of civil procedural law, as well as the expertise of our leading attorney in the field of arbitration, Mrs. Sorina Olaru (former partner in a major law firm with experience in the arbitration field on the Romanian market), thus joining both their academic perspective and invaluable expertise so as to provide our clients with a comprehensive perspective and an integrated service.

Our arbitration practice is growing stronger and more experienced every day, creating with each new case a brand for excellence and professionalism.

No. of pending cases: 18

No. of arbitrator appointments (no. as chair or sole):

Prof. Ciobanu – over 415 starting with 1990 out of which over 60 within the last two years (over 40 as chairman)

Names to know:

• Prof. Dr. Viorel Mihai Ciobanu - Counsel NNDKP
• Manuela Nestor - Senior Partner NNDKP
• Sorina Olaru –Partner NNDKP

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