Elizabeth Nicholls

Barrister and Civil and Commercial Mediator

Call: 2018 - England and Wales, 2021- Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Virgin Islands)  

Practice Summary

Elizabeth is a Civil Mediation Council accredited civil and commercial mediator and a workplace mediator. She is also registered with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb).

Before becoming a barrister, she spent her career dealing with large amounts of commercial business (up to £2.2bn turnover a year). She has negotiated large commercial contracts and settled numerous complex disputes with some of the biggest, and most recognised companies in the world. She has advanced negotiation training and has expertise in resolving difficult disputes in the most effective way.

Elizabeth has a wealth of experience in the UK, Europe and the Far-East, including: fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), manufacturing, intellectual property, food/pharmaceutical ingredients, contract, procurement, debt, insurance claims and supply chain. She also has experience in some of the more difficult disputes concerning land, property and the environment, and in advising Governments on those issues to be resolved by mediation.

Elizabeth also has a unique practice dealing with issues related to arboricultural matters – those involving trees, hedges and the forestry industry. She has experience of unusual personal property disputes, including art, classic cars, pedigree dogs and valuable racehorses.

“Having spent twenty years in business, negotiating with some of the largest companies and best negotiators in the world, I decided to become a barrister. Having attended a mediation, I found that my negotiation skills and personal skills, developed from leading teams through difficult situations, gave me a significant advantage. I believe this experience enables me to effectively mediate resolutions between parties, even when there are additional issues and cultural or personal sensitivities to be considered. It’s about doing the best deal for the parties, enabling them to move on with their business and life.”

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Mediation Practice

“As a mediator, I am someone who brings with me my significant negotiation experience to reach a settlement. Whether the issue I am mediating is large or small, I adapt to each situation. My mission is to obtain the best possible outcome. It’s about getting the best deal on the day. I take a pragmatic but calm approach and I have the significant advantage of working with a wide range of people throughout my career. As a result, I have the ability to engage with even the most challenging of characters. My belief is that the mediator should focus on getting the parties to work together, rather than be combative by proxy. It’s about resolving the real issues and dealing with the personalities, to gain that sought after agreement on the day.”


“I also accept instructions as Counsel at mediations, representing parties throughout the process. I am a keen advocate of best mediation planning, and I work with all my clients, offering advice on approaching mediation as a resolution. I work with clients before any mediation to plan where the pitfalls are within the case, and working with them to understand what the best and worst outcome may be. Throughout the mediation, I work with the mediator to obtain the best possible position, and in resolving any stumbling blocks that arise. I am a valuable addition to any legal team in obtaining the most successful outcome in any mediation.”

Professional Background

Elizabeth is a qualified Barrister in England and Wales. She is also a barrister of the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean (Virgin Islands) where she is Panel Counsel, advising the Government of the British Virgin Islands. Since becoming a barrister, when has expanded her areas of experience to include, land, property (including real property and damage claims) and arboriculture.

Elizabeth began her career in the international ingredients company Hoechst (Celanese), negotiating contracts for technical products in food, drink and pharmaceuticals. She then moved into product development and European sales, in one of the world’s largest producers of hygiene and forestry products (SCA, now Essity). Elizabeth worked throughout the UK, Eastern Europe and Northern Europe. She was seconded to ASDA Wal*Mart as part of her business relationship and negotiation role.

Following this, she was recruited by Sainsbury’s, where she led buying, marketing and technical teams in the UK, Hong-Kong and mainland China. She led categories turning over between £300m and £2.2bn a year. She negotiated contracts with global companies, including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Danone, Reckitt Benckiser and a range of smaller suppliers in farming and agriculture.

During her time in non-food and clothing, she worked with suppliers in Hong-Kong and mainland China, including Li and Fung. In her visits to the Far-East, she conducted negotiations over several days and weeks.



  • Disputes arising from food supply and farming
  • Issues relating to trees, forests or hedges, including property damage
  • Agricultural related issues, including contracts, products or machinery


  • High-value contract disputes.
  • Disputes involving currency, including crypto currency
  • Contracts of an unusual nature – e.g. dogs, horses and classic cars
  • Supply chain/shipping issues and loss of profit
  • Construction disputes


  • Disputes involving technical machinery
  • Issues relating to specifications – including ingredients/products/packaging/quality control


  • Disputes between neighbours
  • Issues involving noise, pollution, animals, insects and plants


  • Enforcement
  • Listed buildings
  • Environmental/infrastructure/ecological/biodiversity/wildlife
  • Issues relating to the Town and Country Planning Act
  • Arboricultural issues – trees/forests/hedges


  • Land and ownership
  • Boundaries, easements and neighbour disputes
  • Building disputes, including enforcement and planning issues
  • Commercial property disputes
  • Landlord and tenant issues
  • Property damage – including listed buildings

Public Sector/Government

  • Public sector contracts/procurement disputes
  • Claims between authorities and the public, including PI, debt, overpayments, commercial and enforcement matters
  • Environmental issues including pollution, countryside and wildlife issues

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