Maria Polakova became a partner in the international dispute resolution team of Squire Patton Boggs in May 2019. She returned to Prague in 2017, having worked in the firm’s London office from 2015. Maria’s practice focuses on investor-state arbitration. She has been part of legal teams that have secured important victories for sovereign nations in a number of cases, including United Utilities (Tallinn) BV and Aktsiaselts Tallinna Vesi v Republic of Estonia (ICSID Case No. ARB/14/24), in which the international tribunal, after a jurisdictional and merits hearing, dismissed the claimants’ €65 million claim; ACP Axos Capital GmbH v Republic of Kosovo (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/22, Award, 3 May 2018), in which the international tribunal, after a jurisdictional and merits hearing, dismissed the claimant’s €380 million claim; EuroGas Inc et al v Slovak Republic (ICSID Case No. ARB/14/14, Award, 18 August 2017) in which the international tribunal, after a full jurisdictional and merits hearing, dismissed all of the claimants’ claims, publicly reported to be worth US$1.65 billion; Achmea BV v Slovak Republic (II) (PCA Case No. 2013-12, Final Award, 20 May 2014), in which the international tribunal, after a hearing on jurisdiction, rejected all of the foreign investor’s claims; and ECE Projektmanagement International GmbH et al v Czech Republic (UNCITRAL, Award, 19 September 2013), in which the international tribunal, after a full merits hearing, rejected all of the foreign investor’s claims, worth more than €100 million.
Maria also has substantial experience in international commercial arbitration and domestic litigation cases in a variety of sectors such as energy or real estate. For example, she led a team which successfully represented a major international sports goods retailer in arbitration proceedings before the Czech Arbitration Court and in subsequent set-aside proceedings before Czech courts. Maria also frequently works on assessments of prospective claims of sovereign states and private parties and provides pre-litigation advice.
Maria served as a co-chair of the Young International Council for Commercial Arbitration (Young ICCA) in 2013 and 2014 and subsequently served as a member of the organisation's advisory board for two years. She is currently involved in the project Guide to Arbitration Places under the auspices of Delos, an innovative arbitration institution established in Paris in 2014 and a recipient of the 2018 GAR Award for Innovation. Maria also serves as a member of the leadership committee of Delos-Y, a platform within Delos dedicated to networking and career mentoring that specifically targets mid-level arbitration practitioners.
Maria is currently closely following the developments in tech and non-tech innovations in international arbitration with special focus on artificial intelligence. She organised a workshop Innovation in Dispute Resolution: Sci-Fi or Future Reality?, co-hosted by Squire Patton Boggs and Delos in May 2019 within the Innovative Legal Services Forum, an annual international legal conference in Prague. She is also regularly teaching on international investment arbitration within the course on international dispute resolution for graduate students at the Institute of Economic Studies at the Charles University in Prague.