Elliott Couper is an Associate in the Litigation department in London and a member of the International Arbitration Practice Group.

Elliott focuses on complex multi-jurisdictional disputes and advises corporations, individuals, States and State-owned entities on commercial and investor-state arbitrations as well as public international law. Elliott has acted as counsel and as tribunal secretary, and has experience of proceedings in a number of industries and under various institutional rules (including the ICSID, ICC, SIAC, SCC and NAI rules). He has particular experience of disputes in the financial services, energy, pharmaceutical, construction and infrastructure sectors.

Elliott also has experience in court litigation. He has represented clients in cases connected with arbitral proceedings in different jurisdictions and has acted for corporate clients as well as the Crown at all levels of the New Zealand courts (including appearances as lead and junior counsel).


Prior to joining Willkie, Elliott was a Senior Associate in the London office of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP. Before moving to London, Elliott worked in New Zealand as an Assistant Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office (New Zealand Government) and as a Solicitor at Bell Gully.

Elliott has been involved in Willkie’s collaboration with the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa, in which it is a Founding Member.

Elliott has been actively involved in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Elliott previously coached the LSE Vis team and has assisted in the organisation of various Pre-Moots, including the LSE-LCIA Vis Pre-Moot and the Willkie London Vis Pre-Moot. While in New Zealand, Elliott was involved in establishing the Government Legal Network’s Advocacy Practice Group.

  • Represented a leading European pharmaceutical company in a US$ 1.5 billion ICC arbitration arising out of royalty payment disputes under a licensing agreement with an East Asian pharmaceutical company.
  • Represented a European bank in a EUR 160 million ICSID arbitration against a European State arising under an investment treaty and concerning State measures enacted in relation to the issuance of foreign currency denominated loans.
  • Represented a North American energy company in an ICC arbitration against an offshore geophysics company concerning the impact of force majeure on contractual arrangements and interpretation of a contractual compensation mechanism. Prevailed on points of contractual interpretation.
  • Represented a North American chemical manufacturer in a CA$ 20 million ICC arbitration against a joint venture partner concerning the financial treatment of certain indirect costs.
  • Represented the Ministry of a Middle Eastern State in connection with the enforcement of a US$ 100 million award against a North American contractor in various jurisdictions and relating to a construction project.
  • Advised a leading Chinese property developer in relation to an appeal before the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and concerning novel points of law regarding the enforcement of a CIETAC award and common law actions for damages.
  • Advised an East Asian general contractor (and joint venture partner) in connection with an AED 4 billion DIAC arbitration relating to the construction of a major international airport in the Middle East.
  • Advised a British consumer goods and health conglomerate with regard to a motion to stay a class action in the U.S. District Court (S.D.N.Y.) in favour of arbitration.
  • Advised a leading North American aerospace and defence company on force majeure issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic in connection with a multi-billion dollar contract for the supply of equipment and services to a Middle Eastern State. Disputes were subject to LCIA arbitration seated in London.
  • Appointed as secretary to the tribunal in an NAI arbitration concerning parties’ shareholdings in a company with a significant indirect stake in a major European energy company and involving allegations of serious economic crimes.
  • Worked on a Kurdish journalist’s claim against Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights and concerning complex admissibility issues and alleged breaches of the rights to liberty and security, and freedom of expression.
  • Hartono v Ministry of Primary Industries [2018] NZSC 17: Represented the Crown in an appeal connected with the forfeiture of commercial fishing vessels.
  • NZX Ltd v Ralec Commodities Pty Ltd [2016] NZHC 2742: Represented NZX in an 11 week High Court trial relating to various contractual and warranties claims arising out of the purchase of an Australian business.



London School of Economics and Political Science, LL.M., 2019 University of Auckland, LLB (Hons) / BCom, 2015

Bar Admissions

England & Wales Barrister and Solicitor, New Zealand