Tonderai is an experienced disputes lawyer who focuses on international arbitration, litigation and alternative dispute resolution matters. As a Legal Director at Gateley, he leads the Middle East disputes practice and has extensive experience advising clients on complex, high-value disputes across the region.

He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and acts as an arbitrator in ad hoc and institutional arbitral proceedings. His practice covers acting for clients in arbitrations under major arbitral rules, including DIAC, DIFC-LCIA, ICC, LCIA and UNCITRAL. Tonderai advises clients extensively on arbitration strategy and enforcement. He also represents clients in substantial commercial litigation cases before the DIFC Courts, Dubai Courts and other jurisdictions, leveraging his background in common law and civil law.

In addition, Tonderai advises clients on alternative dispute resolution methods, including negotiation, mediation and expert determination. He aims to resolve matters efficiently and avoid protracted disputes whenever appropriate.

Prior to joining Gateley, Tonderai practiced for over 8 years at leading international law firms in the Middle East and UK, gaining significant arbitration and litigation experience across sectors like construction, international trade, financial technology, energy, infrastructure and banking.

How do you help clients?

I am relied upon by the world’s leading organisations to solve their most complex and high-value disputes through pragmatic strategy and forceful advocacy. I regularly help clients:

  • Enforce critical contractual rights and manage claims against counterparties across emerging markets where rule of law is limited and business norms unreliable
  • Defending high value claims
  • Enforce arbitral awards, court orders and judgements
  • Overcome jurisdictional hurdles and craft sophisticated litigation strategies when disputes involve parties and assets spanning multiple countries
  • Align divergent interests and develop cohesive positions when disputes involve numerous stakeholders with conflicting commercial objectives
  • Deploy the optimal mix of litigation, arbitration, mediation and negotiation at each stage of a dispute to efficiently reach favourable outcomes
  • Manage business relationships at risk of deteriorating into intractable conflicts that could severely impact operations and profitability
  • Communicate persuasively to tribunals on highly technical issues requiring subject matter expertise
  • Balance legal principles and commercial goals to craft positions that both advance the client’s case and accommodate real-world business needs.

I have extensive experience advising sovereign states and state owned entities on complex enforcement and dispute resolution matters across a range of sectors including international trade, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources.


  1. Represented a UAE-based investment company as the Claimant in an investor-state arbitration against a European State arising out of breaches of a bilateral investment treaty.
  2. Acted for the Defendants, an Abu Dhabi group of companies, in a dispute involving claims brought by a syndicate of banks totalling approximately AED 2 billion relating to late payments and interest under Syndicated Facility Agreements.
  3. Acting for and advising a global mining company in 14 multi-party contractual disputes against a syndicate of banks in an LCIA arbitration involving a number of billion-dollar facility agreements.
  4. Acting for a European buyer against a Liquid Natural Gas producer in a multi-billion-dollar dispute concerning gas re-pricing.
  5. Assisting in representing a state involved in a multi-billion US Dollar investor-state LCIA arbitration concerning contract obligations of an oil and gas plant construction.