Peers and clients say:
"Mr Vasile is definitely one to watch in the arbitration market"
"He is a very good tactician in complex disputes"
"He is my top choice for international arbitration in Romania"
Dr. Cosmin Vasile has extensive experience of more than 21 years in handling cross-border disputes and boasts an outstanding track-record of more than 100 international arbitration proceedings as counsel and arbitrator conducted under various laws and sets of arbitration rules, including ICC, LCIA, CAM, SCC, VIAC, UNCITRAL, ICSID and CICA. He is one of the leading experts in construction, capital markets, privatisation, and energy arbitrations in Romania, and provides assistance to a broad spectrum of companies, institutions and authorities.
What motivated you to specialise in dispute resolution?
I have been a dispute resolution lawyer from day one of my career, and I would not consider other options. Resolving conflicts requires, besides legal knowledge, a dynamic understanding of human behaviour and good communication skills. These two dimensions of disputes are fascinating as one has so much to learn from every case by simply seeing what went wrong in a project or business.
How has the relationship between arbitrators and parties developed over your career? How might this affect tribunals?
One thing that has changed quite significantly since I began practicing international arbitration is the fact that parties have become more demanding of the arbitral process and, hence, of the arbitrators. The parties’ expectations have increased in terms of efficiency, flexibility and quality of the proceedings. In my view, this is a positive development showing that users are resorting to arbitration more intentionally and frequently and want measurable results from this dispute resolution method.
What role do you see third-party funding playing in arbitration moving forward?
In my view, third-party funding will be increasingly in the spotlight in the next years. It is on the radar of the EU and national legislators. The main question is how far-reaching the regulation of third-party funders will become. In any case, irrespective of the regulatory framework, something funders need to consider is closing the gap of small to medium claims where the third-party funding phenomenon is less common but desirable.
Many arbitral awards are starting to end up back in court for enforcement proceedings. Does arbitration have an enforcement issue, and how could this be addressed if so?
Intra-EU investment arbitration has an obvious enforcement issue and there is a lot of uncertainty as to the future of intra-EU arbitration at the moment. It is at a crossroads amidst the EU's policy against the resolution of intra-EU investor-state disputes by arbitration. However, the explanation is rather of a political nature, and it should be expected that these issues will be resolved one way or another. In commercial disputes, however, there are no critical enforcement issues bur rather things that can be improved. For example, post-award proceedings for setting aside and recognition of awards are sometimes unjustifiably lengthy and need to be reconsidered and recalibrated in many jurisdictions.
For many years, the attractiveness of arbitration has been attributed in great part to the success of the New York Convention, which enabled the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards almost all across the world, making arbitral awards easier to enforce than foreign court judgments. However, within the EU, foreign arbitral awards do not have this advantage over foreign court judgments due to the very liberal EU provisions on the intra-EU circulation of court judgments. Perhaps it is about time to see what can be done to improve the circulation of foreign arbitral awards within the EU by way of an international convention or EU regulation.
To what extent should more be done to improve the transparency of arbitration proceedings?
In general, the international arbitration community needs to keep improving the equitable access of all stakeholders to basic information, such as the information related to the appointments of arbitrators, conflicts of interest and the service of the arbitral institutions, including how the arbitral institutions perform their various administrative functions. A broader scope of transparency can be considered only for investment arbitration, where the publication of awards and other procedural documents can be justified due to public interest in the disputes. In commercial arbitration, where confidentiality is an attractive feature in business disputes, currently the real challenge is to not exaggerate with transparency. Regardless of how broadly we construe transparency depending on the type of dispute, the quality of information is equally important and the objective of equitable access to information cannot be achieved by simply increasing the sheer volume of information available. Furthermore, the fact that more information is becoming available by paid subscription is not per se contributing to improving the equitable access to information.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
Should I ever catch the goldfish, I would ask it for a single wish instead of three: I would like to hold the key to not losing my passion on this amazing journey that is my legal career.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice as a lawyer is that a case never belongs to the lawyer; it always belongs to the client. Therefore, understanding the client’s needs is the key to successfully representing the client. No amount of advocacy or legal acumen can substitute effective communication with the client.
Another memorable piece of advice given to me by a wise and experienced arbitrator is that, as arbitrators, we need to behave the same way as we would expect the arbitrator to behave if we were counsel in the case.