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Sylvia Tonova is an international arbitration lawyer who has represented both investors and states in investment treaty and commercial arbitrations. She is ranked as a "global leader" in international arbitration and recognized as "an accomplished and excellent lawyer" by Who's Who Legal (WWL), who is known for her "incredibly impressive work," her "strong analytical thinking" (WWL), and "great understanding of clients' needs" (Chambers UK). The Legal 500 has described her as "outstanding legal counsel, very knowledgeable and very passionate about her work"; "a naturally gifted lawyer"; "always calm under pressure"; and "clients love her business-savvy approach to disputes." Clients and peers say she is "very client-friendly, meticulous and always delivers quality for the client" (Chambers UK); she "possesses a vast legal knowledge and know how; she is responsive, well balanced, practical and provides ground-breaking solutions" (WWL).

Sylvia handles complex, high-stakes disputes across Europe and the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and Africa in a range of industries, including mining, oil and gas, energy, banking, and telecommunications. She has experience under all the major arbitration rules and was appointed to the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators by Bulgaria in 2016. Sylvia also advises clients on arbitration clauses, sovereign immunity, and protecting investments against political risk.

Sylvia serves on the International Bar Association's Arbitration Committee as co-chair of the international commercial arbitration case law subcommittee. She teaches investment treaty arbitration procedure and enforcement of awards at Roma Tre Law School and is on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration.


  • World Wide Minerals obtains arbitration award in excess of $50 million against the Republic of KazakhstanJones Day obtained an arbitration award on behalf of World Wide Minerals Ltd. ("WWM"), a Toronto-based mining company, and Mr. Paul A. Carroll, QC, WWM's President and CEO, which held that the Republic of Kazakhstan breached international law and the Canada-U.S.S.R. Bilateral Investment Treaty ("BIT") over 20 years ago.
  • Federal Elektrik Yatirim ve Ticaret arbitrates issues against Uzbekistan under Energy Charter TreatyJones Day represents Federal Elektrik Yatirim ve Ticaret A.S. and three other claimants in an ICSID arbitration against Uzbekistan seeking millions of dollars of compensation under the Energy Charter Treaty and the Turkey-Uzbekistan bilateral investment treaty.
  • Kazakh investors initiate ICSID arbitration against UzbekistanJones Day represents Vladislav Kim and 11 other citizens of Kazakhstan in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Uzbekistan instituted pursuant to the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments.
  • Canadian mining company initiates UNCITRAL arbitration against KazakhstanJones Day represents a Canadian mining company in an UNCITRAL arbitration against the Republic of Kazakhstan.
  • U.S. healthcare company arbitrates ICC claim against Middle Eastern hospital proprietorJones Day is representing a Pittsburgh-based international healthcare management and consulting company in an ICC commercial arbitration against an owner of medical centers and clinics in the Middle East.
  • Two Ghanaian companies arbitrate dispute with Ghana in ICC International Court of ArbitrationJones Day represents two Ghanaian companies with British, Canadian, and Indian shareholders against the Government of Ghana in a gold mining dispute arbitrated at the International Chamber of Commerce, International Court of Arbitration.
  • Expropriated SNS Reaal bondholders challenge legality of taking and seek compensation from Dutch StateJones Day represents bondholders in connection with the Dutch State's nationalization of SNS Reaal NV and SNS Bank NV on February 1, 2013.
  • Additional Publications

    • February 2, 2015
      Enforcement of Investment Treaty Awards against Assets of States, State Entities and State-Owned Companies, in Enforcement of Investment Treaty Arbitration Awards: A Global Guide
    • November 15, 2013
      Arbitration Rules for Dispute Resolution Involving States and State Entities: What Are the Significant Differences?, coauthor, The International Lawyer
    • August 16, 2013
      Mining Concession Pitfalls, coauthor, Energy & Mining International
    • April 5, 2013
      Enforcement against States: Investment Arbitration and WTO Litigation, coauthor, WTO Litigation, Investment Arbitration, and Commercial Arbitration
    • August 19, 2011
      Investment Arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty: The Novel Case of Plama Consortium Limited v. Republic of Bulgaria, coauthor, Energy Dispute Resolution: Investment Protection, Transit and The Energy Charter Treaty

    Speaking Engagements

    • September 26, 2019
      Enforcement of Investment Treaty and Commercial Arbitration Awards, Roma Tre Law School
    • May 10, 2019
      Thirty Second BIICL Investment Treaty Forum Public Conference – State Responsibility in Investment Law
    • May 7, 2019
      London International Disputes Week, Interim Measures in Investment Arbitration
    • April 9, 2019
      Much ado about everything: Damages in International ArbitrationJoint UNCITRAL-LAC Conference on Dispute Settlement
    • September 27, 2018
      Enforcement of Investment Treaty and Commercial Arbitration Awards, Roma Tre Law School
    • March 8, 2018
      General Principles of Law in Investment Arbitration, and the Hierarchy of Norms under International Law
    • November 29, 2017
      Arbitral Parents: Managing Parenthood in the Context of an International Practice
    • November 9, 2016
      What Does Brexit Mean for the Future of International Arbitration in London?
    • May 18, 2016
      Award Enforcement: How to Secure the Assets before They Are Gone?, GAR Live London
    • February 9, 2016
      Renewable Energy Investors in Romania
    • February 8, 2016
      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), British-Romanian Chamber of Commerce
    • June 29, 2015
      How to Handle an Investment Dispute?
    • June 16, 2015
      Witness Examination in International Arbitration, Young ICCA Workshop
    • June 12, 2015
      The Winning Brief – Basic Elements and Common Fallacies, ASA Below 40 Seminar
    • May 21, 2015
      Enforcing and Challenging Arbitral Awards - the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution
    • December 10, 2014
      Joinder and Consolidation under the ICDR Arbitration Rules
    • October 21, 2013
      Enforcement against States: Investment Arbitration and WTO Litigation, World Trade Organization (WTO)
    • October 10, 2013
      How to Reduce Your Investment Risk with BITs?
    • June 7, 2013
      Illegality in Investment Arbitration, Lewiatan Court of Arbitration
    • May 22, 2013
      Enforcing and Challenging Arbitral Awards in England and Wales, Pepperdine University
    • April 5, 2011
      The Future of ICSID, Fifth Annual Investment Arbitration Conference