Petr Polášek | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Petr Polasek
Petr Polasek

Petr Polášek

Partner, Washington, DC

Petr's legal knowledge and mastery of technical and financial issues makes him a vital resource for clients in today's complex international arbitrations.


Petr's practice focuses on investment treaty arbitration, international commercial arbitration and public international law.

A partner in the Firm's International Arbitration Group based in Washington, DC, he has a successful track record of advising clients in complex international disputes, in particular, those relating to Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Petr's knowledge and experience span a broad spectrum of business sectors, including mining, electricity distribution, telecommunications, oil & gas, chemicals, banking, waste management, solar power, airport construction, duty-free services and government bonds.

International in outlook and practice background, Petr was educated in the Czech Republic and the United States, and gained extensive dispute resolution experience working in the Firm's Prague office, prior to relocating to Washington, DC in 2003.

Petr has written widely on topics relating to international arbitration and is a member of numerous respected professional organizations, such as the American Society of International Law, the American Bar Association's Section of International Law, the ICC's Young Arbitrators Forum, the International Bar Association's Arbitration Committee, the New York State Bar Association's International Law and Practice Section, and the Institute for Transnational Arbitration's Board of Reporters.

Bars and Courts

  • New York State Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • US Supreme Court


  • Mgr, Charles University, Faculty of Law
  • LLM, George Washington University Law School


  • Czech
  • English
  • Slovak
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US$740.3 Million ICSID Arbitration Award for Canadian Gold Mining Company, 2014

Petr was a key member of the Firm's international arbitration team which secured an award of US$740.3 million for Canadian gold mining company Gold Reserve Inc. against Venezuela, in an arbitration concerning Venezuela's deprivation of Gold Reserve's rights to develop the Brisas gold and copper mining project in southeastern Venezuela, one of the largest undeveloped gold and copper deposits in the world. Gold Reserve's claims were based on the Canada-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty, and the arbitration took place under the auspices of the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), pursuant to the rules of ICSID's Additional Facility. The unanimous award was one of the largest ever investment treaty awards to date, and highlights the Firm's world-leading experience in handling the most complex and significant international arbitrations.

Representing the Republic of Bulgaria, 2014

Petr has represented the Republic of Bulgaria in a series of arbitrations before ICSID. These included a dispute under the Energy Charter Treaty and a bilateral investment treaty concerning an oil refinery, in which Bulgaria defeated all claims (in excess of US$300 million), a pending dispute under the Energy Charter Treaty and a bilateral investment treaty concerning the Bulgarian electricity distribution and supply sectors, and a pending arbitration involving claims under a bilateral investment treaty relating to waste management services in the city of Sofia.

Achieving a favorable award for TECO Guatemala Holdings, LLC, 2013

Petr represented the claimant in an ICSID arbitration against Guatemala under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) relating to the claimant's investment in Guatemala's electricity distribution sector. The client was awarded in excess of US$30 million (including costs and interest).

Achieving a significant victory for a State in an ICC arbitration relating to a privatization, 2012

Petr represented a State in an ICC arbitration concerning the breach of a privatization agreement by a private party. The client was awarded approximately €100 million, including nearly the entire amount claimed and costs and interest.

Successfully defending Romania in an investment treaty arbitration, 2010

Petr was a member of the Firm's team that successfully defended Romania in an ICSID arbitration concerning a large chemical plant in Romania. Following the Firm's substantive submissions on Romania's behalf, the claimant abandoned the case.

Achieving one of the largest ICSID awards in Československá obchodní banka, a. s., 2004

In a dispute between Československá obchodní banka, a. s, a leading Czech bank, and the Slovak Republic, Petr was a member of the Firm's team that secured an award of US$877 million to the client, including costs, in connection with the Slovak Republic's failure to honor its undertakings relating to the bank's privatization. This award remains one of the largest ICSID awards to date.

Speaking Engagements

"China BITs and MFN – Will the Renta 4 Award and New Jurisprudence Expand the Application of China BITs?", April 30, 2010: Fourth Annual Investment Treaty Arbitration Conference,
Washington, DC

"Pathways to Employment in International Law", February 27, 2007: ABA International series sponsored by the American Bar Association Section of International Law, American University Washington College of Law, Inter-American Development Bank, and American Society of International Law,
Washington, DC


  • Enforcement against States: Investment Arbitration and WTO Litigation, WTO Litigation, Investment Arbitration, and Commercial Arbitration, Kluwer 2013, (co-author with Sylvia T. Tonova)
  • China's Investment Treaties and the Most-Favored-Nation Clause, Investment Treaty Arbitration and International Law, Vol. 4, Juris 2011
  • Investment Arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty: The Novel Case of Plama Consortium Limited v. Republic of Bulgaria, Energy Dispute Resolution: Investment Protection, Transit and the Energy Charter Treaty, Juris 2011, (co-author, with Jonathan C. Hamilton and Sylvia T. Tonova)
  • Unlawful or Bad Faith Conduct as a Bar to Claims in Investment Arbitration, A Liber Amicorum: Thomas Wälde, Cameron May 2009, (co-author with Abby Cohen Smutny)
  • 2005, Analytical headnotes for, an online research tool for international investment law and arbitration operated by Oxford University Press