Nicola Swan Nicola Swan

Nicola Swan

Litigation & dispute resolution
Climate change

Nicola is a Wellington-based partner in our Litigation & Dispute Resolution team and leads the firm's international law practice. She has particular expertise in international arbitration, New Zealand commercial dispute resolution, public international law, public law and climate risk.

Recognised by clients as having excellent rapport, and effective in developing case and advocacy strategy, she has broad experience before international arbitral tribunals and in domestic courts. Nicola regularly advises on disputes with an international element and those which incorporate both public and commercial law.

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, utilities, extractive, private equity, professional services, banking and telecommunications sectors. She is also a member of our Consulting advisory team

Nicola is recognised as a rising star by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2021 and as a Future Leader by Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration for 2021. Nicola speaks regularly on climate risk and environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk management in business.

Recent highlights

  • Acted for a publicly-listed mining company and its subsidiaries in a multi-billion dollar arbitration against an African government seated in London under the UNCITRAL Rules.
  • Acted for British Caribbean Bank 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.
  • Fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand.
  • Member of the International Chamber of Commerce 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).

Welcoming Nicola to the partnership

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Nicola's insights

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Chapman Tripp takes the lead with consulting service

Responding to growing demand for combined legal and advisory work, we are New Zealand’s first large law firm to offer a local team of consultants – competing head-to-head with the ‘Big Four’.

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Two eminent leaders named Influential Lawyers for 2021

Rachel Dunne and Nicola Swan have been named Young Influencers on the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers 2021 list, highlighting their accomplishments and contributions to the legal profession. Dunne is also one of two exclusively recognised Lawyers for ‘Capital Markets: Equity in New Zealand’ in IFLR’s Asia Future Leaders 2021.

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storm cloud

Climate change no longer just an environmental concern

Our experts have stated that management of climate risk is not about compliance and understanding climate risk is key to mid-long term strategy and resilience.

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Legal expert superstars promoted to partner

The partnership will be enhanced with the appointment of Nicola Swan, Luke Ford and Te Aopare Dewes to partner, effective 1 December 2020.

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green shoots in soil

Certified commitment to environmental sustainability

We meet the requirements of Toitū's carbonreduce® certification programme, having measured our GHG emissions. We are committed to managing and reducing our carbon footprint.

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covid 19

Recovering from COVID‑19: the critical legal pathways

We have published a visual diagram to illustrate the legal pathways required for businesses and economies to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Others in the team

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