Stéphanie Lafrance

Stéphanie Lafrance

Senior Associate
Durban, South Africa
  • Overview
  • Experience


Stéphanie is a senior associate in the Dispute Resolution Department of our Durban office.  She is a member of our Corporate Investigations Practice and our Shipping, Aviation and Logistics Group.

She joined Bowmans in June 2021. Stéphanie specialises in dispute resolution, investigations and financial crime compliance. She was admitted as an attorney in New York in 2010 and as a barrister and solicitor in Ontario in 2012. Stéphanie has experience in corporate, corruption and fraud investigations and international dispute resolution, under various regulatory frameworks.

Being French and English speaking, she has worked on matters in numerous jurisdictions, including Canada, the USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Benin, Cameroon, Senegal and Madagascar.

Prior to joining Bowmans, Stéphanie was a senior manager in the Risk Advisory Practice at a leading global provider of audit & assurance, consulting, advisory, and related services, where she was a member of the Forensics and Regulatory Risk team. She has also worked at an international law firm based in Toronto, Canada, where her practice focused on litigation and dispute resolution and on financial crime compliance. She has appeared as counsel in Canadian domestic courts and arbitrations and in international arbitrations conducted under the ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules.

Stéphanie has an LLL degree (magna cum laude) from the University of Ottawa, a JD degree from Western University and an LLM degree (with merit) from the London School of Economics. She completed her articles at the Supreme Court of Canada for Justice Ian Binnie and Justice Michael Moldaver.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

Stéphanie has participated in the following contentious and non-contentious matters:

  • She has represented the South African Reserve Bank, the Prudential Authority, repayment administrators appointed by the Prudential Authority and temporary inspectors appointed by the South African Reserve Bank.
  • She has been part of teams investigating high profile contraventions of the Banks Act and Exchange Control Regulations.
  • She was involved in applications for interdicts to prevent the dissipation of assets in South Africa in terms of the Financial Sector Regulation Act.
  • She has been acting for a repayment administrator in the recovery of more than R100 million from the Swiss Confederation.
  • She has been involved in international arbitration and litigation matters pertaining to stock shortages, supply chain management issues and shipping collisions.
  • She has advised shipping, ports, transports and logistics clients pertaining to transaction structuring and service agreements.

* experience gained prior to joining Bowmans

Prior to joining Bowmans, Stéphanie was involved in the following:

  • She conducted an investigation on behalf of an African central bank relating to the circumstances surrounding the liquidation of a local bank.
  • She managed and led multiple pan-African teams in conducting gap assessments, implementing best practice AML, CFT and sanctions programmes and conducting legislative reviews across a number of African jurisdictions on behalf of multinational and South African financial institutions and telecommunications companies.
  • She conducted an investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption relating to senior management personnel at an African subsidiary of a multinational telecommunications company.
  • Stéphanie led an East African bank’s efforts to review and refresh its end-to-end financial crime compliance programme and controls, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya in 2019.
  • She completed a secondment to a digital bank prior to the bank’s official launch, to support the Financial Crime Compliance function in developing and implementing a Risk Management and Compliance Programme and ensuring adequate prevention and detection controls are in place.
  • She assisted a multinational financial institution in assessing its financial crime risk exposure and remediating its controls deficiencies during the institution’s divesting efforts from an African jurisdiction.
  • She developed and facilitated financial crime compliance training on a number of engagements across Africa. This included managing and facilitating training on behalf of the Bankers Association for Finance and Trade and the World Bank Group in six countries across Africa, including three French-speaking countries.

While working at an international law firm, Stéphanie was involved in representing the following clients:

  • A Canadian mining company in investigating concerns respecting potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act in South America.
  • Infinito Gold in its successful ICSID arbitral claim against the Republic of Costa Rica, under the Canada-Costa Rica Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), concerning the expropriation of the Crucitas gold mining project.
  • Windstream Energy, a U.S. offshore wind project developer, in its successful arbitral NAFTA investment claim against the Government of Canada in connection with Ontario’s moratorium on offshore wind development.
  • A French financial institution in developing a financial crime compliance programme as part of its market entry into Canada.
  • A group of twelve underwriters in class action proceedings pertaining to a Chinese-based forestry company.