On 2 November 2016, the American Chamber of Commerce in Bucharest launched a new centre in Bucharest, called the Bucharest International Arbitration Court (“BIAC”), presided by Annet van Hooft, the Paris-based co-head of Bird & Bird’s international dispute resolution group.
The Bucharest International Arbitration Court is an independent arbitration court gathering 60 local and foreign arbitrators, under the auspices of the American Chamber of Commerce, which includes over 400 business professionals. It is thus a main arbitration centre in Romania, created in addition to the institution attached to the German-Romanian Chamber of Commerce, which opened in 2010, and the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR), which has suffered due to a bribery scandal concerning a former president.
“BIAC aims to assist business persons as well as local and multinational companies doing business in Romania, with respect to the adjudication of all types of contractual disputes between parties which have a presence in Romania, including parties which have concluded contracts in a language other than Romanian.” Its goal is to become “the leading international arbitration centre in Southeast Europe.”
BIAC is composed of an administrative council, dealing with general matters and the budget of the centre, and a governing board, whose role is to appoint the honorary president and the arbitrators. The council includes 8 practitioners for a 3-year term, whereas the board includes 2 professors from the University of Bucharest and a secretary general.
The Bucharest International Arbitration Court’s Arbitration Rules were drafted with reference to the rules of other international arbitration institutions, including the ICC and the LCIA. The rules are intended to provide for efficiency in the proceedings. For instance, the final award shall be issued within 6 months unless the tribunal requests an extension of the deadline based on reasoned grounds. The tribunals also have the power to order provisional measures.
Finally, the BIAC intends to restore the reputation and image of international arbitration in Romania, following the bribery scandal of the former president of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania, Mikhail Vlasov.
- Aurélie Ascoli, Aceris Law SARL
 Dan Visoiu, secretary general of BIAC.