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Rachel Nicolson

Rachel Nicolson

Partner since 2013
BA LLB (Hons) M Pub & Int Law
Melbourne | +61 3 9613 8300
Rachel.Nicolson@allens.com.au


Rachel specialises in Disputes and Investigations and is based in Melbourne. Before joining Allens, Rachel spent several years managing World Bank, ADB and Australian funded law reform projects in Asia.

Rachel has particular expertise advising on complex regulatory and law enforcement investigations and is recognised as a market leader in anti-bribery and corruption and business crime matters as well as business human rights obligations. Rachel has strong experience engaging with a broad range of authorities including the AFP, DPP, ASIC, ACCC and the ATO. With local counsel, Rachel also acts in investigations conducted by the US DOJ and SEC and UK Serious Fraud Office.

Additionally, Rachel's litigation experience includes advice on tort, competition and administrative law actions for clients across a range of sectors including mining, oil and gas, energy, banking, manufacturing, health and federal and state governments.

Rachel has advised on regulatory disputes and litigation brought in Australia, the US, the UK and Papua New Guinea. Rachel has also advised on investigations and legal issues for offshore projects in China, Indonesia, India and across Africa.

This includes advising:

  • Financial Services Royal Commission – advising an international bank in relation to the Commission;
  • State government departments on disability discrimination and equal opportunity claims commenced in state tribunals or the Federal Court;
  • Amcor and Air France, KLM and Martinair in class actions in the Federal Court alleging cartel conduct;
  • ExxonMobil on all litigation emanating from the LNG Project in PNG;
  • numerous resources, banking and finance and manufacturing companies on development and implementation of anti-bribery, sanctions and human rights-related polices;
  • clients across a range of sectors on independent investigations into allegations of foreign bribery or sanctions breaches including involving Australian, US and UK enforcement authorities;
  • mining and oil and gas clients including Barrick Gold on investigations into alleged human rights violations by public or private security forces at mine sites. This includes audits of alignment with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights;
  • Chevron in China and other clients on design and implementation of project-level grievance mechanisms;
  • BHP Billiton on PRRT-related proceedings in the Federal Court and various tax disputes concerning Olympic Dam;
  • AngloGold Ashanti and ExxonMobil on various tenement related disputes in Australia and PNG respectively;
  • Newcrest, ExxonMobil, Glencore and Rio Tinto on various class actions and representative proceedings involving tort and constitutional law claims commenced in Australia and overseas alleging environmental, social or human rights impacts.

Rachel leads the firm's Governance, Risk and Compliance team and regularly advises clients on risk minimisation steps and compliance reviews including emanating from internal investigations or regulatory action.

Rachel led the Allens team that advised the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights in development of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Rachel was also on the IFC's Expert Panel for review if its 'Guidance for Projects and Companies on Designing Grievance Mechanisms', and on the International Commission of Jurists' Expert Panel on Corporate Complicity in Human Rights Violations.

Rachel is a Director of the UN Global Compact Network Australia and leads its Anti-Corruption Leadership Group.

Rachel is also proud to co-chair Allens' LGBTI network, ALLin.