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Sylvia Tonova is an international arbitration lawyer with 15 years of experience representing investors and states in investment treaty and commercial arbitrations. Recognized for her "incredibly impressive work" and her "strong analytical thinking," Sylvia spent seven years with the international arbitration group of a leading international firm in Washington, DC before relocating to London in 2012.

Sylvia has extensive experience with arbitrations under all the major arbitration rules, including the ICSID and the ICSID Additional Facility Rules, and was appointed to the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators. Her practice focuses on investment and commercial disputes arising in Eastern Europe and the CIS, including the successful representation of Bulgaria and Romania in four ICSID arbitrations. Sylvia was also part of the team that recently secured a victory against Uzbekistan on behalf of 12 private equity partners in a leading private equity firm in Kazakhstan.

Sylvia regularly advises clients on sovereign immunity issues, arbitration clauses, and protecting investments against political risk in a range of industries, including oil and gas, mining, telecommunications, and banking.

Sylvia holds leadership positions in several arbitration organizations, including the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA) and Young ICCA, and is regularly invited to speak at arbitration conferences. She is recognized in The Legal 500 (2018) and Who's Who Legal (2019) as a future leader in international arbitration.


World Wide Minerals achieves right to arbitrate its expropriation and international law claims against Republic of Kazakhstan
An arbitral tribunal convened under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules has held that Kazakhstan is a legal successor to the 1989 Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (the "Canada/USSR BIT").

Federal Elektrik Yatirim ve Ticaret arbitrates issues against Uzbekistan under Energy Charter Treaty
Jones 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 Uzbekistan
Jones 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 Kazakhstan
Jones Day represents a Canadian mining company in an UNCITRAL arbitration against the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Two Ghanaian companies arbitrate dispute with Ghana in ICC International Court of Arbitration
Jones 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 State
Jones 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 2015Enforcement of Investment Treaty Awards against Assets of States, State Entities and State-Owned Companies, in Enforcement of Investment Treaty Arbitration Awards: A Global Guide
  • Autumn 2013Arbitration Rules for Dispute Resolution Involving States and State Entities: What Are the Significant Differences?, coauthor, The International Lawyer
  • 2013Enforcement against States: Investment Arbitration and WTO Litigation, coauthor, WTO Litigation, Investment Arbitration, and Commercial Arbitration
  • August 2013Mining Concession Pitfalls, coauthor, Energy & Mining International
  • 2011Investment 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

  • May 18, 2016Award Enforcement: How to Secure the Assets before They Are Gone?, GAR Live London
  • February 8, 2016The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), British-Romanian Chamber of Commerce
  • June 29, 2015How to Handle an Investment Dispute?
  • June 16, 2015Witness Examination in International Arbitration, Young ICCA Workshop
  • June 12, 2015The Winning Brief – Basic Elements and Common Fallacies, ASA Below 40 Seminar
  • May 21, 2015Enforcing and Challenging Arbitral Awards - the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution
  • December 10, 2014Joinder and Consolidation under the ICDR Arbitration Rules
  • October 21, 2014Investor-State Arbitration Seminar, ICC Bulgaria and DGKV
  • October 20, 2014Is Your Energy Investment in Bulgaria Protected? What Investment Treaties and International Arbitration Have to Offer?
  • October 21, 2013Enforcement against States: Investment Arbitration and WTO Litigation, World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • October 10, 2013How to Reduce Your Investment Risk with BITs?
  • June 7, 2013Illegality in Investment Arbitration, Lewiatan Court of Arbitration
  • May 22, 2013Enforcing and Challenging Arbitral Awards in England and Wales, Pepperdine University
  • April 5, 2011The Future of ICSID, Fifth Annual Investment Arbitration Conference
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