Petr Polášek

Partner, Washington, DC


The “knowledgeable, smart and client-friendly” Petr Polášek “take[s] on complex issues with highly effective strategy, tactics and logic,” “always works with focus and a meticulous understanding of the underlying facts,” and “stands out with persistence and dedication to his work, exceptional responsiveness and knowledge.”
(Who's Who Legal)


Petr focuses on investment treaty arbitration, international commercial arbitration, public international law, and the protection of foreign investments. Petr's legal knowledge and mastery of technical and financial issues make him a vital resource for clients in today's complex international arbitrations.

Petr has a successful track record of advising clients in complex international disputes, in particular those relating to Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America, before the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and other arbitral institutions.

Petr has experience working with clients in a number of industries, including mining and mineral processing, electricity generation, supply and distribution, photovoltaic (solar) power generation, telecommunications, oil & gas, real estate, chemicals, banking, waste management, airport construction, port management, duty-free services, and sovereign debt.

Petr's pro bono work includes asylum and veteran benefits cases.

Petr was educated in the Czech Republic and the United States. He started his legal career with the Firm's Prague office and relocated to the Firm's Washington, DC office in 2003.

Petr has written and spoken on topics relating to international arbitration, public international law, and the protection of and dispute resolution concerning investments in the mining and space sectors. Petr is a Trustee of the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law (FNREL), serves on FNREL’s International Committee, and is a member of several other professional organizations.

Bars and Courts
New York
District of Columbia
US Supreme Court
Charles University, Faculty of Law
George Washington University Law School


Representing Gabriel Resources in investment treaty arbitration concerning gold mining project
Representing the mining company Gabriel Resources in an ICSID arbitration against Romania concerning investment treaty claims relating to one of the world's largest undeveloped deposits of gold.

US$740.3 million ICSID arbitration award for Canadian gold mining company
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 is one of the largest investment treaty awards to date and highlights the Firm's world-leading experience in handling the most complex and significant international arbitrations.

Satellite-related dispute
Representing an international organization in a dispute with a satellite manufacturer concerning the development and launch of a telecommunications satellite and the lease of transponder capacity thereon.

Representing the Republic of Bulgaria in multiple investment treaty arbitrations
Petr successfully represented the Republic of Bulgaria in several investment treaty arbitrations, including an ICSID arbitration 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) and ICSID arbitrations under the Energy Charter Treaty and bilateral investment treaties concerning Bulgaria's electricity distribution and supply sectors, an industrial park development, and waste management services.

Favorable award for TECO Guatemala Holdings, LLC against Guatemala
Petr represented the electricity company TECO 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). In subsequent annulment proceedings, the ICSID ad hoc committee rejected Guatemala's application for annulment of the award, upholding the award of damages to TECO, and granted TECO's application for partial annulment of the award insofar as the original tribunal dismissed the remainder of TECO's damages claim. TECO resubmitted the claim for the remaining portion of its damages to ICSID arbitration and was awarded additional significant damages.

Victory for a European State in ICC arbitration relating to a telecommunications company
Petr represented a European State in an ICC arbitration concerning the purchase price for a telecommunications company. The client was awarded approximately €100 million, comprising almost the entire amount claimed and costs and interest.

Successfully defending Romania in investment treaty arbitration
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.

One of the largest ICSID awards in Československá obchodní banka, a. s.
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 to the client of US$877 million, including costs, in connection with the bank's privatization. This award remains one of the largest ICSID awards to date.

Speaking Engagements

"International Arbitration in the Era of Climate Change:  Renewable Energies, Geoengineering, and Critical Mineral Industry," Washington Arbitration Days, November 30, 2023

"Investment Arbitration Perspectives: Cost and Time, Digitalization, Expedited Arbitration," Bucharest Arbitration Days, June 9, 2023

"Summary Judgments/Awards," ICC Arbitration Uncovered: Key Trends, Tools and Tactics, Bratislava, June 8, 2023

"Law of Outer Space and Investment Arbitration," Columbia Law School/Columbia International Arbitration Association, March 27, 2023

"International Protection of Space Assets," Washington Arbitration Week, December 1, 2022

"Experience with the Use of Damages Experts in Investment Arbitration," 12th Investment Treaty Arbitration Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, October 20, 2022

"Resolution of Outer Space-Related Disputes," Sustainable Development of Natural Resources on the Moon and Beyond, Virginia State Bar, May 9, 2022

"Protecting Mining Investments Against Government Interference – An Investment Treaty Perspective," 67th Annual Institute, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, July 26, 2021

"Contributory Fault in Investment Treaty Arbitration," Fifth Investment Treaty Arbitration Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, October 22, 2015

"Practical Aspects of Investment Arbitration," Geneva Center for International Dispute Settlement – ICC Young Arbitrators Forum joint event, Geneva, Switzerland, September 26, 2015

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

"Pathways to Employment in International Law," 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, February 27, 2007


Protection of Mining Investments under Investment Treaties: Gold Reserve, Inc. v. Venezuela, in 67th Annual Institute Proceedings, the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation 2021

The MFN Clause and Its Evolving Boundaries, in Arbitration Under International Investment Agreements, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 2018 (co-authored with Abby Cohen Smutny and Chad Farrell)

Arbitral Institutions, in International Financial Disputes, Oxford University Press, 2015 (co-authored with Abby Cohen Smutny) 
Enforcement against States: Investment Arbitration and WTO Litigation, in WTO Litigation, Investment Arbitration, and Commercial Arbitration, Kluwer 2013 (co-authored with Sylvia T. Tonova)

China's Investment Treaties and the Most-Favored-Nation Clause, in 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, in Energy Dispute Resolution: Investment Protection, Transit and the Energy Charter Treaty, Juris 2011 (co-authored with Jonathan C. Hamilton and Sylvia T. Tonova)

Unlawful or Bad Faith Conduct as a Bar to Claims in Investment Arbitration, in A Liber Amicorum: Thomas Wälde, Cameron May 2009 (co-authored with Abby Cohen Smutny)

Analytical headnotes and peer review for Investment Claims, a research service for international investment law and inarbitration operated by Oxford University Press

Awards and Recognition

Best Lawyers in America, International Arbitration – Commercial 2019-2024

Legal 500, International Arbitration Tier 1, Key Lawyers, 2022, 2023

Global Leader: Arbitration Who's Who Legal 2022-2023

Thought Leader: Arbitration Who's Who Legal 2021

Future Leader: Arbitration Who's Who Legal 2017-2019; one of "most highly regarded" individuals (2018)