Nicola Swan

Nicola Swan

Senior Associate, Wellington

Litigation & dispute resolution

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T:+64 4 498 6389

M:+64 27 308 6000


LLB (Hons, First Class), University of Otago; BCL, (Distinction) University of Oxford


2006, New Zealand; 2015, UK

Recognised by clients as having excellent rapport in developing effective case and advocacy strategy, Nicola has particular expertise in international and New Zealand-based commercial arbitration and litigation, public international law, public law and climate risk. She has broad experience before international arbitral tribunals and in domestic courts.

Prior to returning to Wellington in 2019, Nicola practised in London for seven years with a major US law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Today, she advises clients across a range of industries including in the energy, oil & gas, utilities, extractive, private equity, professional services, banking and telecommunications sectors.

Recognised as a Future Leader by Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration for 2020.

Recent highlights

  • Acted for a publicly-listed mining company and its subsidiaries in a multibillion dollar arbitration against an African government seated in London under the UNCITRAL Rules.
  • Acted for British Caribbean Bank Limited in successfully defending anti-arbitration injunction proceedings brought by the Government of Belize to avoid arbitration under a bilateral investment treaty in the courts of Belize and the Caribbean Court of Justice.
  • Acted for a multinational professional services firm in a Belgian-seated commercial arbitration arising out of a post-mergers and acquisitions dispute.
  • Advised private equity firm Helios Investment Partners and its investment vehicle in an ICC arbitration regarding its stake in Africatel BV.
  • Advised an international NGO on a global litigation strategy regarding claims before UN human rights treaty monitoring bodies across multiple Latin American states.
  • Represented the Center for Reproductive Rights in its successful intervention in the UK Supreme Court concerning the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s challenge to Northern Ireland’s criminal laws on abortion.
  • Advised an international organisation in an arbitration brought by a private party under a Headquarters Agreement with a state party.


Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) 

Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand

Member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Arbitration Task Force on Climate Change Related Disputes

Member of the ICC Task Force on Witness Evidence

Member of the City of London’s Green Finance Expert Legal Working Group

Founding board member of the Young Public International Law Group (London)

Corporate & commercial; Corporate governance; Environment, planning & resource management; Finance; Insurance; International trade & investment; Litigation & dispute resolution; Private equity; Public law; Regulatory law





Banks & financial institutions; China Desk; Construction & major projects; Energy & natural resources; Government; Infrastructure