Romania: New Rules of Arbitration as of 2012

29 February 2012 | newsletters

New rules of arbitration (the “New Rules”) of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (the “Court of Arbitration”) were published on 23 January 2012.

The main changes refer to the appointment of arbitrators and the language of case debates.

Appointment of arbitrators

Under the New Rules, the Parties no longer enjoy the right to nominate arbitrators, this being under the sole control of the Appointing Authority organised within the Court of Arbitration. Previously the Parties were allowed to designate their arbitrators from a list published by the Court of Arbitration and only the chairperson, or, in case of a single arbitrator format in which the parties failed to agree on the identity of the arbitrator, the respective arbitrator, was nominated by the Appointing Authority.

The President of the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was nominated as the Appointing Authority for a seven-year mandate. 

For activities rendered in relation to arbitration, the Appointing Authority receives a re-muneration representing 10% of the arbitration fees.

Language of case debates

Another amendment refers to the language of the arbitration debates. If the venue of arbitration is in Romania, the general rule is that the debates will be carried out in Romanian. An international language can be chosen only if all arbitrators are foreigners and have previously agreed to carry out debates in an international language.  

When the arbitration panel consists of one or more arbitrators of Romanian nationality, the debates will take place in Romanian, and foreign arbitrators will attend the debates accompanied by interpreters. These restrictions on the choice of arbitration language will likely discourage foreigners from choosing arbitration in Romania as an alternative to the common courts.

Effects of the New Rules

Due to the restrictions imposed on the parties’ choice of arbitrators and arbitration language, the New Rules are controversial and have led to a series of resignations by important members of the Court of Arbitration. So far, three arbitrators (including the former president of the Court of Arbitration) declared their opposition to the New Rules and resigned from their positions.