Evidence from lower eukaryotes suggests that the chromosomal associations of all the structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) complexes, cohesin, condensin and Smc5/6, are influenced by the Nipbl/Mau2 heterodimer. Whether this function is conserved in mammals is currently not known. During mammalian meiosis, very different localisation patterns have been reported for the SMC complexes, and the localisation of Nipbl/Mau2 has just recently started to be investigated. Here, we show that Nipbl/Mau2 binds on chromosomal axes from zygotene to mid-pachytene in germ cells of both sexes. In spermatocytes, Nipbl/Mau2 then relocalises to chromocenters, whereas in oocytes it remains bound to chromosomal axes throughout prophase to dictyate arrest. The localisation pattern of Nipbl/Mau2, together with those seen for cohesin, condensin and Smc5/6 subunits, is consistent with a role as a loading factor for cohesin and condensin I, but not for Smc5/6. We also demonstrate that Nipbl/Mau2 localises next to Rad51 and γH2AX foci. NIPBL gene deficiencies are associated with the Cornelia de Lange syndrome in humans, and we find that haploinsufficiency of the orthologous mouse gene results in an altered distribution of double-strand breaks marked by γH2AX during prophase I. However, this is insufficient to result in major meiotic malfunctions, and the chromosomal associations of the synaptonemal complex proteins and the three SMC complexes appear cytologically indistinguishable in wild-type and Nipbl (+/-) spermatocytes.