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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance
Kelwin Nicholls

Kelwin Nicholls


Kelwin Nicholls

Kelwin Nicholls specialises in regulatory investigations/enforcement, M&A disputes, banking and financial services litigation/disputes and compliance advice.

Kelwin's recent matters include bringing and defending claims arising out of acquisitions and disposals of public and private companies, defending mis-selling claims and disputes over swaps and options, and acting for corporate trustees in High Court litigation. He has represented clients in regulatory investigations and enforcement actions including cross-border investigations into rate-setting misconduct, investigations into rogue traders, investigations into suspected market abuse and several high-profile public inquiries. Kelwin also undertakes risk reviews of high-risk products and services within financial institutions and advises on anti-money laundering compliance and anti-bribery programmes for corporates and private equity firms.

  • representing two major UK public companies defending shareholder claims
  • representing ING in a claim concerning payments that are subject to Russian sanctions
  • representing the founder and former CEO of Autonomy Plc defending a $5bn claim brought by HP in the English High Court arising out of HP's $11bn acquisition of Autonomy in 2011
  • representing NatWest in the defence of LIBOR-related claims
  • representing a major UK retail bank in the defence of a claim based on the so-called Quincecare duty
  • represented a major retail company in the resolution of a dispute over the provision of IT services
  • represented ING in its successful defence in the English High Court of an action relating to the sale of its Asian private banking business
  • represented a Glencore subsidiary in an anti-suit injunction arising out of sanctions, preventing the Defendants from pursuing proceedings brought in the Democratic Republic of Congo in breach of an English exclusive jurisdiction clause
  • represented BNP Paribas in an action concerning duties of care in arranging Islamic finance transaction
  • represented DB Trustees in an action concerning contractual interpretation of commercial mortgage-backed security agreements, relating to the proposed replacement of servicers
  • FCA enforcement action and follow-on litigation for an FX brokerage firm
  • investigation and public report into a major blockchain company's use of funds raised following its highly successful token sale
  • investigation and report into bullying and harassment by an activist in a major UK political party
  • investigation and public report into RBS' restructuring group and its treatment of SME customers
  • litigation and arbitration relating to the collapse of the Saudi Saad and Algosaibi groups
  • cross-border interest rate setting investigations and enforcement actions for The Royal Bank of Scotland
  • represented global bank in its defence of an action brought by a customer relating to the sale of fx options

News and client work

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Contact details

Career and qualifications

  • University of Natal, Durban (BA) 1994, (LLB) 1996
  • Deneys Reitz Attorneys Durban, South Africa 1997
  • Admitted as an attorney in South Africa 1999
  • Joined Clifford Chance 2000
  • Admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales 2002
  • Partner since 2010

Professional bodies

  • The Law Society of England and Wales
  • Executive Committee of Alliance for Lawyers at Risk

Awards and citations

  • Kelwin Nicholls is "a very talented, unflappable lawyer who provides superb advice on highly complex matters"
    Legal 500 UK 2018
  • Kelwin Nicholls is highly regarded for his abilities in regulatory investigations and enforcement actions. One commentator says: "He's an excellent guy. Very responsive and very user-friendly."
    Chambers UK 2018
  • "The very able" Kelwin Nicholls is "extremely strong on high-profile cases" which have recently included rate-setting misconduct on behalf of a major bank and market conduct issues on behalf of several commodities firms.

    Kelwin Nicholls "provides excellent strategic input and commercially astute advice"
    Legal 500 UK 2017
  • Kelwin Nicholls advises banks and other financial institutions undergoing FCA investigation on both a domestic and European scale. He has recently been most heavily involved in the Libor and FX proceedings, as well as working on issues around the implementation of the new Senior Managers Regime.
    Chambers UK 2017
  • Kelwin Nicholls is "simply the best for high-profile cases"

    Kelwin Nicholls is "responsive, hardworking and collegiate"
    Legal 500 UK 2016
  • The "superb" Kelwin Nicholls is developing a strong reputation in the financial sector as a result of the depth to his regulatory expertise and crossover experience in major banking litigation. He has worked on a number of FCA and major criminal investigations, including those involving allegations of market manipulation and misrepresentation.
    Chambers UK 2016