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Nicola Dunleavy is "not only a skilled lawyer but also has strong emotional intelligence".

Chambers Global & Europe 


Nicola Dunleavy is Senior Counsel/SC and a partner in Matheson’s Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department, with a broad commercial litigation, investigations and arbitration practice.  Nicola is regularly appointed to represent clients in complex, multi-jurisdictional commercial disputes, including arising from mergers and acquisitions and EU law, and in constitutional litigation.  Sectors include technology and telecommunications, pharmaceutical, chemicals, food and drink, waste, water, energy, mining, and transport.  Nicola represents clients in investigations by the EU Commission, ComReg, and other regulators and in defending criminal prosecutions.  Nicola has very significant experience in major development, energy and real estate disputes, including planning environmental and safety judicial review and disputes.

Nicola is a member of the Court of the London Court of International Arbitration and leads Matheson’s arbitration team. Nicola is an advocate in alternative dispute resolution, such as expert determination, adjudication and mediation. Nicola is President of Arbitration Ireland, a Chartered Tax Advisor and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Experience Highlights

Representative matters include:

  • Representing a client in a broadband licensing dispute in ICC arbitration against a State body.
  • Acting for Royalty Pharma in litigation related to its $6.5 billion bid for Elan.
  • Representing a US oil and gas company in a judicial review of a decision of the Commission for Energy Regulation in the Commercial Court.
  • Defending regulatory investigations and criminal prosecutions for regulatory (pricing, tax), safety and environmental offences.
  • Defending a UK telecommunications company in Commercial Court proceedings regarding a disputed break clause in a lease.
  • Leading a Commercial Court dispute between Gibraltar and US shareholders regarding ownership of shares in a Irish biotech company, and related intellectual property.
  • Successfully representing Russian companies in two Commercial Court challenges to arbitral awards.
  • Representing a major European utility (French-headquartered) in respect of two successful court challenges to government procurement procedures.
  • Acting for a multinational energy client in a dispute under a gas tolling agreement, governed by ICC arbitration rules.

"Nicola Dunleavy has assisted our company over an extended period of time and can be relied upon to always provide practical and forthright advice notwithstanding the difficult nature of matters requiring attention".
The Legal 500 2021

"Nicola Dunleavy is an outstanding litigator. She has a deep understanding of the litigation process and how issues might play out. She is able to deliver quality strategic advice and add value in all interactions".
The Legal 500 2021

Nicola Dunleavy "is fantastic to deal with. Nicola really got to know and understand our business, she provides professional well thought out advice and also works through the advice as part of the broader team and understands the complex business we operate. Nicola is a superb professional advisor, with good business acumen, who deploys a common sense approach to problems".
The Legal 500 2021

"When she speaks she has a level of gravitas; you can just sense that she has been there before and knows exactly what she's talking about".
Chambers Europe 2021

Nicola Dunleavy "is personable, responsive and commercial".
Chambers Europe 2021

Nicola Dunleavy has been recognised by The Legal 500 as an elite leading lawyer.
Planning and Environment: European Legal 500 Hall of Fame 2020

“Nicola Dunleavey is amazing to work with, she is on the ball at all times and works very well with clients to deliver what they need.”
Planning and Environment: European Legal 500 2020

Nicola Dunleavy is truly exceptional, head and shoulders above her competitors. She is an excellent lawyer and offers hugely practical and informed advice to her clients. She is enormously hard working and gets the best out of a dedicated team who all do their best for her.”
Planning and Environment: European Legal 500 2020

"Nicola Dunleavy is an outstanding litigator. Her advice and support to our business has been fantastic.”
Dispute Resolution: European Legal 500 2020

Nicola Dunleavy is “great at listening to and understanding the clients requirements”
Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution: Chambers Global and Europe 2020

"She carefully considers complex issues and delivers well thought out, thorough and bespoke advice."
Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution: Chambers Global 2020

Nicola Dunleavy has been recognised by The Legal 500 as an elite leading lawyer.
Dispute Resolution: Legal 500 EMEA Hall of Fame 2019

Nicola Dunleavy "brings calmness and understanding" and her "knowledge is excellent".
European Legal 500 2019

Nicola Dunleavy is named a leading individual.
European Legal 500 2019

Nicola Dunleavy is "adept at adapting to dynamic situations".
European Legal 500 2018

Nicola Dunleavy is "clear and effective communicator" and an "original thinker".
European Legal 500 2018

Nicola Dunleavy is "very good at co-ordinating”.
Chambers Global & Europe 2018

Lawyer of the year (Ireland) for Environmental Law
Best Lawyers Ireland 2018 edition

Nicola Dunleavy is named a leading individual.
European Legal 500 2017

Nicola Dunleavy has "excellent industry knowledge on infrastructure".
European Legal 500 2017

Nicola is recognised as a leading lawyer by international legal directories Chambers Europe, European Legal 500 and Best Lawyers.


Trinity College Dublin (LLB)

Qualified as a solicitor in Ireland

Chartered Tax Advisor, Irish Taxation Institute

European University Institute, Florence, Italy (Masters in European, International and Comparative Law LLM)