Nicola Chesaites is a partner in Willkie’s Litigation and Antitrust & Competition practice groups in London, alongside her EU litigation practice spanning EU banking, trade, sanctions, customs, pharmaceutical, transport and competition law disputes before the EU courts in Luxembourg. Nicola has extensive experience of competition damages litigation, including collective (class) actions before UK courts, having represented claimants and defendants before the English High Court, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court.

Nicola also has significant experience both representing and challenging EU institutions in EU law disputes before the EU Courts, including acting as the EU’s external counsel in multiple trade disputes. She has appeared before the EU Courts in over 28 cases. Nicola was formerly a Référendaire at the General Court of the EU, which – combined with her previous representation of the EU – provides her with valuable insights in disputes before the EU courts.  

Nicola was recognised by Who’s Who Legal (2020) as a Thought Leader and is ranked as one the world’s leading competition plaintiff lawyers (2017-2022).

Nicola is ranked in Chambers UK (2023 and 2022) in the category of Competition Law: Private Enforcement: Claimant and recognised as “experienced in handling significant competition damages litigation” (2022).

The Legal 500 UK (2019) described Nicola as a “key practitioner” in competition litigation, having “played a leading role in a number of significant matters”.

In 2017, Nicola was included in The Lawyer’s ‘Hot 100’, a high profile and prestigious ranking list of lawyers in England.

Nicola is a barrister in England and Wales and an advocaat in Belgium, and is fluent in English and French.


  • General Court of the European Union, Référendaire, 2013-2015
  • Covington & Burling LLP, Senior Associate, 2009-2013
  • 20 Essex Chambers, London, Pupil Barrister, 2007-2008
  • Ranked by Who’s Who Legal 2020 as a Thought Leader in competition law.
  • Recognised by Who’s Who Legal in 2017 – 2022 for Competition Plaintiff.
  • Ranked in Chambers UK 2022 and 2023 in the category of Competition Law: Private Enforcement: Claimant.
  • Recognised by The Legal 500 UK 2023 for Competition Litigation and by The Legal 500 UK 2018 and 2019 as a “Recommended Individual” for Competition Litigation.
  • Named in The Lawyer’s 2017 “The Hot 100” list.
  • LegalWeek, British Legal Awards, Litigation and Disputes Resolution Team of the Year 2019 in recognition of the Merricks v Mastercard Court of Appeal victory.
  • LegalWeek, Commercial Litigation & Arbitration Awards, Competition Team of the Year 2019.
  • Phoenicia Scholarship (Bar European Group, annual conference) 2007
  • J P Warner Scholarship (Internship, United Kingdom, Advocate General, European Court of Justice), Lincoln’s Inn, 2006
  • Lord Denning Scholarship (Bar Vocational Course), Lincoln’s Inn, 2005
  • United Kingdom Scholarship (LL.M, College of Europe, Bruges), 2003
  • Member, Bar European Group
  • Member, Lincoln’s Inn

Selected Publications

  • October 2021, 'Mastercard competition damages: CAT establishes gatekeeper role', Thomas Reuters September/October Issue of Practical Law Magazine
  • January 2021, ‘Mastercard competition damages: Supreme Court boosts Collective Action Regime’, Thomas Reuters January/February Issue of Practical Law Magazine
  • Author of chapter on ‘Tax Incentives as State Aid’ in EU Competition and State Aid Rules - Public and Private Enforcement, Springer, Tomljenović, V., Bodiroga-Vukobrat, N., Butorac Malnar, V., Kunda, I. (Eds.), Springer (2017)
  • ‘The Certification of Claims by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal as Eligible for Inclusion in Collective Proceedings – Legal and Economic Issues’, ICLG Competition Litigation 2016
  • ‘FX litigation: revealing the pressure points – The UK is the next frontier for banks involved in FX manipulation. What does this mean for the banks, the claimants and their advisers?’ The Lawyer, 16 Sep 2015
  • Video – FX manipulation – cartel damages, collective actions and what this means for European claimants.

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • March 2023, Panel Speaker, Digital Markets: Public and Private Enforcement: What Lies Ahead?
  • November 2021, Panel Speaker, ‘Collective Proceedings Certification’, W@CompetitionUK, London
  • September 2021, ‘EU Collective Redress at the Crossroad’, 7th Petar Šarčević Conference, Consumer Protection in Transition: Digital Transformation and Better Enforcement, Opatija, Croatia
  • November 2019, Panel Speaker, 'The Rise Of Group Actions (Including Competition Litigation)', Banking Litigation & Regulation Forum 2019, London
  • June 2019, ‘Group actions and litigation funding', Panel Speaker, Banking Litigation & Regulation Forum 2019, London
  • November 2017, IFR FIG Capital Conference, Panel Speaker, ‘Where Exactly are we on Bank Resolution?’
  • October 2017, ‘Private enforcement of data protection rights in the UK: Lessons and influences from competition law enforcement’ 5th Petar Šarčević Conference, Information and Data: The Road Ahead, Opatija, Croatia
  • June 2015, ‘Private enforcement of competition law’, Guest lecturer, UNIMORE, Competition law programme, Modena, Italy
  • April 2015, ‘Tax incentives as a form of State aid’, 4th Petar Šarčević International Scientific Conference, EU Competition and State Aid Rules: Interaction Between Public and Private Enforcement, Rovinj, Croatia
  • December 2013, ‘Working with Courts and Judges’, International Competition Network, Advocacy Workshop, participated as Non-Governmental Advisor to the Polish National Competition Authority, Rome, Italy
  • March 2023, Panel Speaker, Digital Markets: Public and Private Enforcement: What Lies Ahead?

Nicola has advised on the following selected significant matters*:

  • Representing Walter Merricks, as class representative in a collective competition damages claim against MasterCard on behalf of a class of 46 million UK consumers. The claim is one of the first collective actions ever brought under the new regime for collective competition damages proceedings, and is the largest claim ever filed in the UK.
  • Advising and representing a group of bondholders on the expropriation of their AT1 and T2 bonds as a result of the forced resolution of Banco Popular Español and sale to Santander, including representing Algebris (UK) and Anchorage Capital Group in actions before the General Court of the EU seeking annulment of the resolution of Banco Popular by the EU’s Single Resolution Board and the European Commission.
  • Representing Daimler as defendant in actions brought against it in follow-on claims relating to a European competition law infringement concerning trucks.
  • Advising and representing a number of leading car manufacturer in respect of claims arising from the various global auto-part cartels.
  • Advising claimants in respect of claims arising from the global roll-on, roll-off ocean transport cartels.
  • Advising clients on potential claims in respect of the manipulation of FX benchmarks.
  • Successfully represented claimants seeking damages arising from the polyurethane foam cartel.
  • Successfully defended a multinational client and obtained a mandatory injunction against the claimant in the High Court in a substantial damages claim involving competition allegations.
  • Representing a holder of a large investment portfolio in a dispute against several banks in respect of losses suffered on hedging facilities, due to the manipulation of LIBOR benchmarks.
  • Successfully advised and represented a multinational company in cooperating with the European Commission’s in relation to its e-commerce sector inquiry.
  • Represented several Samsung defendants in competition damages claims before the High Court in London in respect of the liquid crystal displays (LCD) cartel.
  • Successfully defended a Russian national subject to EU trade sanctions against Belarus in an application for annulment of Council measures imposed against him for alleged support of the political regime in Belarus.
  • Usha Martin v Council of the European Union, C-552/10 P: Successfully defended the Council of the European Union in an appeal against the ruling of the General Court in an action for annulment of a Council Regulation imposing anti-dumping duties.
  • JBF RAK v Council of the European Union, T-555/10: Successfully defended the Council of the European Union in an action for annulment of a Council Regulation imposing countervailing duties.
  • Guillermo Cañas v European Commission, C-269/12 P: Successfully represented the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) as intervener in an appeal before the Court of Justice in a case involving the EC’s refusal to investigate alleged anti-competitive practices by WADA, ATP Tour Inc. and the International Council of Arbitration for Sport.

*Nicola advised on some of these matters prior to joining Willkie.



College of Europe, Bruges, LL.M., 2004 University of Westminster, LLB, 2000 Université Paris X - Nanterre, Licence en Droit, 1999

Bar Admissions

England & Wales Belgium

Events & Speaking Engagements