Sonia de Vries

Partner
Baker & McKenzie

Biography

Sonia de Vries is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Dispute Resolution Practice Group in Johannesburg.

Practice Focus

Sonia focuses on mining, construction and engineering matters, and has extensive experience in arbitration and litigation related to corporate and commercial disputes. Most of the disputes she handles take place in mediation, adjudication and arbitration settings.

Representative Legal Matters

Prior to joining the Firm, Sonia worked on the following matters:

Construction

  • Represented a listed client in relation to a AUD 260 million civil construction dispute concerning an offshore gas project and a dispute regarding construction at the Dubai International Airport.
  • Represented a main subcontractor in the construction of Eskom's Medupi and Kusile power stations. Involved disputes concerning delay and productivity claims, payment under performance and advanced payment guarantees, alleged defective subcontract works requiring international expert evidence and claims amounting to approximately ZAR 1.5 billion.
  • Advised a parastatal on claims arising out of the failure of valves manufactured in China worth approximately ZAR 1.5 billion, including an insurance claim and contracts with related payment guarantees for alternative supply of the valves.
  • Represented an Italian consortium in the construction of power stations concerning claims worth ZAR 200 million related to unlawful strike action.

Mining

  • Represented an operating division of a listed mining company with respect to various mining and contractual disputes in private arbitration and high court litigation involving claims in excess of ZAR 1.2 billion.
  • Represented a listed client in a coal mining dispute involving a subsidiary (ZAR 43 million claim versus ZAR 120 million counterclaim) in private arbitration and high court litigation.
  • Advised a number of South African companies on a cross-border civil construction dispute in Mozambique, Lesotho, Zambia, Ghana, Namibia and Swaziland.

Corporate and Commercial

  • Defended a majority shareholder of a South African Company, owned by an NYSE listed company, against claims by a BEE shareholder of alleged unlawful competition and a shareholder/fronting dispute in an empowerment vehicle, in private arbitration and high court litigation.
  • Represented a South African listed mining entity in shareholder disputes concerning an iron project in Canada involving a ZAR 24 million investment.
  • Represented a South African listed mining entity in a ZAR 190 million distribution dispute involving a foreign entity in the exploitation of mining rights.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Law Society of the Northern Provinces - Member

Corporate Responsibility

  • Kidney Beanz Trust
  • Centre for Water Security and Co-operation, supported by Advocates for International Development to compile a water law database from a South African perspective.

Admissions

  • South Africa (1998)

Education

  • Cambridge University (Summer Program Construction Law) (2013)
  • Cornerstone Seminars (Certification in FIDIC Master Class) (2012)
  • Cornerstone Seminars (Certification in FIDIC Claims) (2012)
  • Cornerstone Seminars (Certification in FIDIC Contracts) (2012)
  • University of Witwatersrand (Certificate Course in Advanced Company Law I and II) (2010)
  • University of South Africa (B.PROC) (1998)
  • Rand Afrikaans University (BA) (1996)

Languages

  • English
  • Afrikaans