Sophia Louw

Associate (South African Qualified)

Personal Profile

Sophia is an Associate in the International Arbitration team in the Dispute Resolution department.

Her practice focuses on international investment and commercial arbitration across a variety of jurisdictions, with a focus on emerging markets. She has participated in proceedings conducted before major arbitral institutions including ICSID, UNCITRAL, the ICC and LCIA. She also has experience in high stakes litigation, challenges to arbitration awards, international legal conflicts and state advisory work. Her work often includes a political angle.

Sophia is a permanent contributor to the African Arbitration Blog and is a board member of the South African Chamber of Commerce (Young Professionals' Network and Women's Forum). She is qualified in South Africa.

Key Experience

  • Representing the Government of Nigeria in challenging a $10 billion arbitral award in favour of a BVI company arising from a failed gas deal.
  • Representing a Swedish company in an SCC arbitration against an offshore company in relation to the construction of a retail development.
  • Representing The Gambia in ICSID arbitration brought by Dutch investors relating to claims arising out of the alleged wrongful termination of licences for exploration of two off-shore oil blocks (African Petroleum Gambia Limited and APCL Gambia B.V. v. Republic of The Gambia, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/38).
  • Representing Montenegro in ICSID arbitration brought by an Austrian investor relating to exchange rate controls legislation (Addiko Bank AG v. Montenegro, ICSID Case No. ARB/17/35).
  • Representing investors in ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Tanzania relating to power purchase agreements (Richard N. Westbury, Paul D. Hinks and Symbion Power Tanzania Limited v. United Republic of Tanzania, ICSID Case No. ARB/19/17).
  • Representing a BVI entity in ICC arbitration under English law against high‑profile European construction companies relating to shareholders’ agreement and Ghanaian port privatisation and operation.
  • Representing an English geothermal company against a State-owned East African company in LCIA arbitration under English law concerning a drilling concession agreement.
  • Representing a Nigerian company in LCIA arbitration against a state owned electricity entity relating to force majeure claims arising from political instability.
  • Advising an African State in relation to peace negotiations with a European State and its broader international relations strategy.
  • Advising a South African company on matters relating to extradition proceedings from Germany to Russia, including claims at the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Advising a South African parastatal in claims arising out of the fraudulent sale of crude oil.
  • Advising an Omani investor regarding its legal remedies relating to the sale of a power plant in Russia to buyers in Italy and South Africa.

Career History

Associate, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Associate, Omnia Strategy LLP
Stellenbosch University, BA LLB
BPP University GDL (Commendation)

Articles and Publications

  • Comment on Foreign Direct Investment under South Africa’s Investment Protection Regime” – Africa Arbitration Blog (2018)
  • Commentary on ICSID’s New Rule Proposals” – Africa Arbitration Blog, Co-Authored with Cherie Blair CBE QC (2018)
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