GAR 100 - 16th Edition

Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii

Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii

Professional notice

Acting in a multibillion-dollar ICSID claim against Romania

People in Who’s Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel4
Value of pending counsel workUS$4.4 billion
Treaty cases as counsel1
Third-party funded cases2
Current arbitrator appointments6 (2 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

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 help Romania defeat its first ever ICSID case, a US$447 million claim by US investor Noble Ventures over a privatised steel mill.

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.

Aside from Popa and Ţuca, who are members of the IBA arbitration committee and ICC Institute of World Business Law respectively, other names to know in the team are partners Anca Pușcașu and Levana Zigmund.

Who uses it?

Romanian clients that have used the firm in ICC matters include oilfield services company Grup Servicii Petroliere and consultancy Paz Management.

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 has used the firm to challenge an award in the local courts.

Other well-known clients include Atos IT Solutions and Services, TMK Hydroenergy Power SRL and Siemens Österreich.

Track record

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.

More recently, 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.  

Recent events

Ţuca Zbârcea made its name representing Romania but, along with White & Case, has recently been acting for Canadian mining company Gabriel Resources in a US$4.4 billion ICSID claim against the state. An award is imminent. 

The firm has also been assisting construction company Romairport in a dispute arising from a FIDIC contract for the baggage handling system in the largest airport in Romania.

While it may no longer be acting for the Romanian state, Ţuca Zbârcea has recently carried out high-profile work on behalf of the Romanian Rugby Federation – teaming up with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The firms persuaded an independent panel appointed by World Rugby to disqualify the Spanish Rugby Federation from the Rugby World Cup 2023 after it was found to have fielded an ineligible player. The Romanian team will take its place.

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).

Contact Details

Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii
4-8 Nicolae Titulescu Ave., America House, West Wing, 8th Floor
Sector 1, 011141
Bucharest, Romania
Phone: +40 21 204 88 90
Fax: +40 21 204 88 99
E-Mail: [email protected]


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