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The arbitration team of ȚUCA ZBÂRCEA & ASOCIAȚII scores another victory in an arbitral dispute worth EUR 6 million

The arbitration team of Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații has won an arbitral dispute in connection with a public works project worth EUR 6 million.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații represented a company specializing in road markings and signs in the arbitration proceedings carried out according to the rules of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The arbitral dispute, initiated by the company in October 2017, arose from the breach of a joint venture agreement concluded for taking part in a project worth EUR 6 million, having as object the performance of road markings on national roads in Romania. The company sought in arbitration the recovery of the profit related to the works which it was entitled to for the project in question according to the terms of the joint venture agreement, as well as corresponding delay penalties. By the arbitral award handed down in April 2019, the arbitral tribunal fully upheld the request for arbitration and rejected the counterclaim submitted by the opposing party.

According to Cornel Popa, Co-Head of the arbitration practice of Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații, the arbitral tribunal ruled on a series of important issues, such as those related to the duties of the leader of a consortium taking part in a public works project, the distribution between consortium members of the works received from public authorities with constant observance of the contractual percentage agreed for each individual work, and the duty of the consortium leader to abide by its obligation to inform the other consortium members about the works received. The tribunal also ruled on a matter of principle regarding the interpretation of the agreement in relation to the established practices between the parties, which can be upheld only if there is an insufficient determination of the content of the agreement and only if the practices are established between the parties, and not in relation to the contracting authority, which is a third party with regard to the joint venture agreement. The award impacts the entirety of relations between the parties for the project in dispute, so the subsequent financial implications are larger than the amounts claimed in the arbitration proceedings.

The setting aside proceedings commenced by the defendant were finally dismissed by the courts of law. In October 2019, the Bucharest Court of Appeals upheld the traditional rule in the field of arbitration, in the sense that the court does not have the power to review the merits of the case, and that the interpretation of legal relations between the parties is exclusively attributed to the arbitral tribunal, a decision which the High Court of Cassation and Justice confirmed on 23 February 2021.

In the arbitration proceedings, the claimant was represented by a team of attorneys led by Cornelia Tăbîrță, Managing Associate within the Litigation and Arbitration practice group of Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații. The legal assistance and representation in the setting aside proceedings were headed by Ana Popa, Managing Associate within the same practice. The team also included Associates Andrei Diaconescu and Bianca Cercel.

Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații has a leading practice in Dispute Resolution, the firm’s pre-eminence in this area being already acknowledged by renowned international publications, such as Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and the Global Arbitration Review.

More so, the firm is a recipient of the 2020 “Law Firm of the Year in Romania for Dispute ResolutionAward by Benchmark Litigation Europe (a publication of Euromoney Legal Media Group), one the most coveted and prestigious international accolades for law firms specialising in litigation and arbitration.

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