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Stéphane Brabant

Avocat associé & Responsable (Chairman) du Groupe Afrique, Herbert Smith Freehills

Expérience

  • Associé Avocat au Barreau de Paris
  • Responsable (Chairman) du Groupe Afrique, Herbert Smith Freehills (depuis 1998°
  • Responsable, Groupe Gestion de Crises (Afrique)
  • Co-Responsable, Groupe RSE et Droits de l’Homme
  • Co-Responsable, Groupe Mines

Formation

  • Diploma of International Law, Université de Canberra, Australie (1981)
  • Maîtrise de Droit privé, Université de Lille II (1979)

Après avoir débuté sa carrière d’avocat aux bureaux de Paris de Sherman & Sterling et de Donovan Leisure, Newton & Irvine, Stéphane a rejoint le Cabinet Price Waterhouse Juridique et Fiscal en 1989 et a exercé, pendant près de sept ans, à Libreville (Gabon) au sein de Fidafrica. Il a rejoint ensuite le bureau de Paris du cabinet d'avocats Price Waterhouse Juridique et Fiscal pour prendre la tête du département Energie et Ressources Naturelles pour la France (y compris les territoires d’Outre-Mer dont la Nouvelle Calédonie), l’Afrique Francophone et l’Europe de l’Est. Stéphane a rejoint le bureau de Paris du cabinet Herbert Smith Freehills en 1998.

Il a vécu et travaillé en Afrique pendant sept ans et bénéficie d’une expérience de plus de vingt-cinq ans en matière de projets et de leurs financements en Afrique francophone. Il conseille et assiste des entreprises, banques et gouvernements sur les aspects juridiques et fiscaux relatifs à leurs opérations en Afrique. Il intervient plus particulièrement dans les domaines de l’énergie, des ressources naturelles (pétrole, gaz, mines, électricité, eau) et des infrastructures (ports, aéroports, chemins de fer), ainsi qu’à l’occasion de contentieux (médiation, arbitrages, contentieux devant les tribunaux en Afrique). Stéphane a acquis une très large expérience dans la rédaction et la négociation de contrats internationaux tels que les contrats de partage de production pétroliers, les contrats d’association, les conventions minières, les contrats dits «BOT», les partenariats public-privé, la structuration de projets intégrés (y compris les expropriations) et la documentation liée aux financements de projets.

Au cours de ces dernières années, Stéphane a aussi développé une expertise particulière en matière de gestion de crises, de Responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises (RSE) et du respect des droits de l'homme par les entreprises. Il assiste également nos clients en matière de contentieux et précontentieux, y compris devant les tribunaux locaux. Stéphane a une longue expérience des négociations en Afrique et a développé une expertise reconnue pour la mise en place de contrats d'investissements équilibrés et sur le long terme entre les Etats et les investisseurs.

Parallèlement à sa clientèle de base considérable, ses contacts locaux et ses relations avec les principales institutions financières (y compris la Banque mondiale et la SFI), Stéphane a également des liens solides avec un certain nombre d'organisations non-gouvernementales telles que Transparence Internationale (dont il est un expert nommé), Amnesty International et l'ONU (où il a agi comme l'un des experts du groupe d'examen des questions portant sur les droits de l'homme en vertu du mandat du Professeur John Ruggie). Il est également membre du conseil consultatif du projet de Responsabilité Sociétale des Entreprises et du respect des droits de l'homme du centre des droits de l’homme de l’American Bar Association, et Co-Chairman du groupe de travail RSE de l’International Bar Association.

Il participe régulièrement comme intervenant dans de nombreuses conférences internationales sur les problématiques juridiques et fiscales en matière de ressources naturelles. Il enseigne à l’Université de Dundee (Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy) et à l’Ecole des Mines à Paris. Stéphane est régulièrement cité dans les répertoires d'avocats internationaux (Chambers, Legal 500, Who's Who) pour son expertise dans les secteurs de l'énergie, des ressources naturelles et des infrastructures en Afrique.

Distinctions

  • Top tier ranking as Notable Practitioner for Africa: Projects & Energy Chambers Global 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
  • Notable Practitioner for Africa: Corporate/Commercial Chambers Global 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
  • Ranked amongst the 20 Most Highly Regarded Individuals for international mining work International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers 2014
  • Ranked as Notable Practitioner for Gabon: General Business Law (Experts Based Abroad) Chambers Global 2014, 2013
  • Key figures in the team include Stéphane Brabant, who is praised for his 'exceptional negotiation and dispute resolution skills'. Legal 500 EMEA 2014
  • Stéphane Brabant is "one of the leading projects lawyers in mining deals" and, as the head of the firm's highly regarded Africa practice, earns plaudits for the quality of his practice and depth of his local expertise. Chambers Global 2014
  • Africa practice head Stéphane Brabant was resident in Gabon for seven years, and is a recognised authority on mining and energy projects in the region. Chambers Global 2014 Stéphane Brabant is known for his expertise in infrastructure, energy and natural resources projects in francophone Africa. He also heads the firm's Libya desk. Chambers Global 2014
  • The head of the firm's Africa practice Stéphane Brabant is based in Paris, and sources are unanimous that he's "very knowledgeable on Africa." Clients seek out his expertise in a wide array of francophone countries. Chambers Global 2014
  • Stéphane Brabant is "one of the leading projects lawyers in mining deals" and, as the head of the firm's highly regarded Africa practice, earns plaudits for the quality of his practice and depth of his local expertise. Chambers Global 2014
  • Stéphane Brabant, who is described simply as "the guru of Africa." Sources commend his "strong interpersonal skills, whether dealing with governments, regulatory bodies or local counsel, and his great sense of how things will pan out." Chambers Global 2013
  • Clients recommended Stéphane Brabant and Nina Bowyer as "outstanding" IFLR 2013, Energy & Infrastructure – Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Local sources confirm that Stéphane Brabant of Herbert Smith Freehills "is very present in Gabon, both from Paris and physically." As head of the firm's Africa practice, he has worked on a number of matters in the country, with a focus on energy and natural resource project financings. Chambers Global 2013
  • Stéphane Brabant co-heads the mining group at Herbert Smith Freehills in Paris and is a European addition to our most highly regarded list this year International Who's Who of Mining Lawyers 2014 – Most Highly Regarded Individuals
  • [Stéphane Brabant] receives outstanding praise from peers and clients, who laud his "knowledge of Africa, his experience out there and also his interpersonal skills with local people" Chambers Global 2013
  • [Stéphane Brabant] has wide experience of risk mitigation, compliance and crisis management, often negotiating with African governments. Clients hail him as "the leading lawyer for mining in francophone Africa" Chambers Europe 2012
  • Sources dub department head Stéphane Brabant the "guru of Sub-Saharan African oil projects" and highlight his expertise in West Africa as a key strength to his practice Chambers Europe 2012
  • Sources commend him [Stéphane Brabant] as "a real player in Africa," and observe that "he knows Africa inside out" Chambers Global 2012
  • Sources recognise him [Stéphane Brabant] as "a person who lives and breathes Africa and is superb as regards francophone Africa work" Chambers Global 2012
  • Stéphane Brabant se distingue par sa profonde expérience du terrain dans les pays africains francophones. Legal 500 Paris 2011-2012
  • Stéphane Brabant .... is cited by clients as "unparalleled in francophone Africa", due to his on-the-ground experience in oil and gas and mining-related matters Chambers Global 2011
  • Stéphane Brabant is without doubt a leading presence for projects and energy work in Africa. Clients stress that he brings "practical experience - not just legal expertise. It's vital to have an understanding of the procedures, and he brings that in spades" Chambers Global 2011
  • Stéphane Brabant is a leading light on francophone Africa. Sources laud him for his 'deep understanding of the issues, cultures and processes and his ability to find a creative path forward'." Chambers Global 2011
  • Market observers point to Paris-based Stéphane Brabant for his knowledge of civil law and "immensely strategic approach to developing a client’s business in Africa". As one source elaborates, "he’s indispensable to us – he’s an active member of our business" Chambers Global 2009

Associations

  • International Bar Association (Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law)
  • Association of International Petroleum Negotiators
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Business & Human Rights Project of the American Bar Association's Center for Human Rights
  • Co-Chairman of the International Bar Association's CSR work group

Publications 

  • M&A in Africa: Opportunity, Challenge and Risk PLC Magazine, September 2013
  • Dispute Resolution in Africa: the Philosophy of Risk PLC Magazine, October 2013
  • "Evolution or Revolution, Legislation in Africa is increasingly geared towards balancing state, public and industry interests" Mining Journal, June 6, 2014 07/9946899_2 3