Profile of Rachel Nicolson

Rachel Nicolson

Partner, BA LLB (Hons) M Pub & Int Law

About Rachel Nicolson

Rachel specialises in Disputes and Investigations and also co-leads the firm’s ESG and Risk and Compliance practices.

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:

  • clients across a range of sectors on independent investigations and enforcement action into allegations of foreign bribery or sanctions breaches including involving Australian, US and UK enforcement authorities;
  • Clients across a range of sectors on investigations and disputes involving human rights related allegations including modern slavery, Indigenous peoples’ rights and impacts on the environment;
  • Conduct of an extensive number of whistleblower investigations for clients involving allegations of conflict of interest, bribery, fraud, harassment (including sexual harassment) and discrimination;
  • numerous resources, banking and finance, retail, entertainment, hospitality and manufacturing companies on development and implementation of anti-bribery, sanctions and human rights-related polices;
  • Rio Tinto on all issues emanating from the Senate Inquiry into the Juukan rockshelters matter
  • 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 clients on disputes commenced under the OECD National Contact Point for Australia alleging environmental and/or human rights harms;
  • Numerous clients on design and implementation of company wide and also project-level grievance mechanisms; 
  • BHP 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 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 of 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 leads the UN Global Compact Network Australia’s Anti-Corruption Leadership Group.

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