Acting in a multibillion-dollar ICSID claim against Romania
|People in Who’s Who Legal||1|
|Pending cases as counsel||6|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$4.5 billion|
|Treaty cases as counsel||1|
|Third-party funded cases||1|
|Current arbitrator appointments||1 (1 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||1|
Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii was formed in 2005 when a group of 20 lawyers – including disputes partners Florentin Ţuca and Cornel Popa – broke away from another leading Romanian firm, Muşat & Asociaţii. While at Muşat, Ţuca and Popa teamed up with White & Case to represent Romania in its first ever ICSID case, a US$447 million claim by US investor Noble Ventures over a privatised steel mill, which ended in a victory for the state.
The spin-off firm went on to successfully defend Romania in three other ICSID cases, teaming up with White & Case and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer on those matters. In all, it reckons to have contributed to the dismissal of claims against the state totalling €700 million. More recently, the firm has begun representing investors in claims against Romania.
Popa co-heads the international arbitration practice with partner Levana Zigmund. Ţuca, a managing partner at the firm, is also a member of the IBA arbitration committee. Partner Anca Pușcașu is another name to know.
At the 2014 GAR awards in Paris, Ţuca Zbârcea won in the “best boutique or regional practice” category.
Who uses it?
Romanian clients that have used the firm in ICC matters include oilfield services company Grup Servicii Petroliere and consultancy Paz Management Group.
International clients include Luxembourg steelmaker ArcelorMittal (in a US$67 million ICC case over a privatisation contract) and Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources for ICSID work. McDonald’s Romanian arm is using the firm to challenge an award in the local courts.
Other well-known clients include Atos IT Solutions and Services, TMK Hydroenergy Power S.R.L. and Siemens AG Österreich.
The firm’s track record on behalf of Romania is excellent. In 2009, the team helped the state defeat a US$110 million damages claim by Eastern Duty Free and win US$6 million towards its costs. White & Case was co-counsel on the case, which involved allegations of bribery against Romanian officials.
The same team defended the state against a US$150 million claim by S&T Oil at ICSID, which was discontinued in 2010.
In 2013, with Freshfields, the firm persuaded an ICSID panel to refuse jurisdiction over a €28 million treaty claim against the government by two Turkish businessmen.
Ţuca Zbârcea successfully represented Romania’s largest and oldest oil and gas producer, Amromco Energy S.R.L., in a dispute to the value of US$1.3 million.
Having made its name defending Romania, Ţuca Zbârcea is now acting against the state. It has teamed up again with White & Case to represent Gabriel Resources in a US$4.4 billion ICSID claim against Romania. An award is pending.
Ţuca Zbârcea won two awards worth €6 million against a state entity at the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry over missed payments under a contract for electronic staff training. The firm also defended the award in the Romanian courts.
He is also assisting construction company Romairport in a dispute arising from a FIDIC contract for the baggage handling system in the largest airport in Romania.
The firm has recently acted for construction clients Astaldi of Italy and Secol Societa Edile Construzioni e Lavori. The latter’s request for a revision of the contractual price and penalties for delayed payment was granted in full in 2021.
Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații is a full-service independent law firm, being currently perceived as one of the largest and best-established in the Romanian legal market. To date, it employs more than 185 cross-disciplinary teams of lawyers, insolvency practitioners, tax consultants, IP counsellors, economists and staff members. It also operates a secondary law office in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and has a “best-friend” agreement with a leading law firm in the Republic of Moldova. In addition, thanks to the firm’s dedicated Foreign Desks, the team is able to provide the full range of services to Chinese investors seeking to gain a foothold or expand their existing operations in Romania. Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații advises local and international companies, prominent financial institutions, public authorities and governmental institutions on virtually all types of legal, tax and similar matters affecting their operations locally.
The firm’s International Arbitration (IA) practice is part of a wider Dispute Resolution team which currently comprises 45 lawyers. The IA group consists of lawyers with 26 years of practical expertise who share a common professional background and history, as they worked together in a different law firm for many years. The firm’s lawyers have dealt with complex disputes arising out of privatisation procedures and agreements, contracting works and construction agreements, airport commercial services, public and private property, chartering services, as well as corporate issues. The team has an in-depth working knowledge of various arbitration procedural rules such as ICC, ICSID, GAFTA, the Romanian International Chamber of Commerce and UNCITRAL. In particular, the firm’s lawyers in the IA team are recognised for their impressive capabilities and track record of success in handling disputes flowing from breaches of bilateral investment protection treaties. The firm’s main work contacts in this area are: Dr. Florentin Ţuca (Managing Partner), Cornel Popa (Partner), Levana Zigmund (Partner) and Anca Pușcașu (Partner).
Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii
4-8 Nicolae Titulescu Ave., America House, West Wing, 8th Floor
Sector 1, 011141
Phone: +40 21 204 88 90
Fax: +40 21 204 88 99
E-Mail: [email protected]