Crenguta Leaua

Crenguta Leaua
Office:
10, Zborului Street, sector 3
030595
City:
Bucharest
Country:
Romania
Tel:
+40 31 405 43 04

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

An arbitrator in over 120 cases, Crenguta Leaua is listed at WIPO and in Austria, Bulgaria, China (CIETAC and SHIAC), Malaysia, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. Since 2015, she has been vice president of the ICC Court. She is a managing partner of Leaua & Asociatii (a GAR 100-listed firm) and acts as counsel in both investment and commercial arbitration. She is associate professor at two Bucharest universities, teaching comparative international arbitration, construction arbitration, business law and EU law.

DESCRIBE YOUR CAREER TO DATE.

My entire career in the last decades revolves around arbitration, in various roles. I have been practising as counsel for over 25 years, as an arbitrator for 15 years and have been involved in academic activities for about 10 years. While my initial background was in corporate law (intra-corporate and M&A disputes), my current fields of practice include mainly construction law, government contracts, environmental law, IP law, technology law, and aviation law.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

One particular moment of satisfaction was when I was appointed as sole arbitrator by agreement of both parties in an important international construction arbitration, despite having disclosed that I was a counsel in previous cases against each of the parties, and, moreover, successful in both cases. To me, that meant that I gained the trust of the people I interacted with even in the context of disputes, and I considered that a very important confirmation.

WHAT QUALITIES MAKE A SUCCESSFUL ARBITRATOR? 

For arbitrators, success is related to gaining and maintaining the trust of the parties and arbitral institutions. As an arbitrator, you reach a point at which you have to take decisions that would dismiss the position of one of the parties, inevitably creating dissatisfaction. In this context, in order to maintain trust, in my view, I believe an arbitrator must respect oneself and its co-arbitrator and treat the parties and their counsel with the respect they would consider for oneself. The Latin dictum juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, neminem laedere, suum cuique tribuere (“the basic principles of law are: to live honourably, not to harm any other person, to render each his own”) is incredibly current. 

HOW DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF ARBITRATION AND AS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE COURT ENHANCE YOUR ARBITRATION PRACTICE?

Members of the ICC Court participate in the specific work of scrutinising the arbitral awards and the decisions on various procedural issues (confirmations, challenges or removal of arbitrators, etc). This is a very niche professional work that requires proper preparation and a dialogue with colleagues from all over the world. It certainly contributes in a unique way to the understanding of the overall international arbitration practice.

The position of vice president also implies participation in the decisions of the ICC Court Bureau on the changes of the rules, guidelines and notes for the parties, their counsel and the arbitrators, in order to better adapt the ICC Rules and practice to the users’ expectations and increase the efficiency of the proceedings. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to such an important task.

YOU HAVE PUBLISHED EXTENSIVELY ON COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION AND ARE AN EXPERIENCED ACADEMIC PROFESSOR. TO WHAT EXTENT DOES THIS ENHANCE YOUR WORK IN PRIVATE PRACTICE?

Academic and publishing activities are about giving back. Academic activities and sharing experience in various other ways (conferences, roundtables, etc) is how the arbitration community is consolidated and new generations are integrated.

AS AN ARBITRATOR, HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE EXPECTATION OF TIME AND COST EFFICIENCIES WITH COUNSELS’ DESIRE TO PURSUE ALL AVENUES TO SECURE A WIN FOR THEIR CLIENT?

To me, there is no contradiction between them. The aim is not for an arbitral procedure to be short or cheap but to have the right duration and cost for the specific dispute to be decided with the observance of due process. 

OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION HAS COME UNDER FIRE FOR THE UNDER-REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN AMONG ITS PRACTITIONERS. WHAT STEPS DO YOU BELIEVE THE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO TAKE TO OVERCOME THIS CHALLENGE?

I think the community should simply prioritise quality. When keeping the parties’ best interests in mind, it is impossible to exclude people on gender-based criteria and a balance is achieved naturally.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE FIELD OF INTERNATIONAL COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

I think that technology will be entering, more and more, into the daily life of arbitration practitioners. Electronic platforms, access to online databases and video-conferencing will become standard tools in the arbitration proceedings.

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Arbitration: Lawyers

Crenguta Leaua has acted as counsel in commercial arbitral proceedings under the rules of the ICSID, ICC, WIPO, VIAC and the Court of International Commercial Arbitration by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania. She has also acted as counsel in ad hoc arbitrations under UNCITRAL rules or various national laws.

Crenguta is a past vice president and member of the ICC Court, and a current member of the ICC commission on arbitration. She is a member of the ICC task force on climate change and arbitration, and was a member of the ICC task force on decisions as to costs and of the task force on criminal law and arbitration. She has acted as a member of the IBA subcommittee on conflict of interests in arbitration. She is a member of the panel of arbitrators of the Romanian Court of International Commercial Arbitration, of which she has also been vice president (2008–2012). She is a member of the panel of arbitrators of the Vienna International Arbitration Centre; the Bulgarian, Polish, Moldavian and Slovenian courts of arbitration attached to the chambers of commerce of these countries; the WIPO list of neutrals for intellectual property disputes; and the CIETAC and SHIAC (China) lists of arbitrators. She was appointed as arbitrator in cases under the rule of the Danish Institute of Arbitration and in ad hoc arbitrations.

She has written numerous publications and made numerous presentations in conferences on international commercial arbitration, including “Arbitration of Foreign Investments Disputes and Romania”, “The Right to a Fair Trial in International Commercial Arbitration – Introductive Considerations”, “The Appointing Authority in International Commercial Arbitration”, “The Party Autonomy in the Appointment of Arbitrators” and “The un-constitutionality exception and arbitration” . She has also authored or co-authored several books including Arbitration in Romania – A practitioner’s guide (Kluwer International, 2016); Commercial companies: special proceedings, (2008, 2009); a reference book on Romanian intra-corporate litigation; and Business Law: General Notions of Private Law (2012).

She graduated from the faculty of legal and administrative sciences at Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, and the law faculty of Ecological University, Bucharest. She received her licence from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University Law School in Iasi, Romania. She holds a PhD, magna cum laude, in corporate litigation from Bucharest University Faculty of Law. She also attended the executive education programmes of the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the London School of Economics. Currently, she is an associate professor in business law at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, and a visiting professor of international comparative arbitration and construction arbitration on the international arbitration LLM programme at the Bucharest University Faculty of Law. She has been invited to lecture students at various universities such as Sciences Po and Georgetown, and also was a visiting scholar at Columbia Law School (New York).

She is fluent in Romanian, English and French, and has a good command of Italian and basic knowledge of German.

WWL says: Crenguta Leaua is a long-time player in the market and a top name in Romania who advises clients in a variety of sectors including construction, IP and technology.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Arbitration which can be purchased from our Shop.

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