Academic Qualifications: 

Dr. Chapman was admitted to the Bar in 2003 after having completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Western Ontario, and her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo.

After completing her articles at Cohen Highley LLP, in London Ontario, Frances gained a broad range of experience in family law, criminal law, personal injury and tort law, administrative law, contract law, and civil and commercial litigation.  She was re-hired by the firm as an associate lawyer in the department of the senior litigation partner.  Frances practiced for almost two years working with real property disputes, mortgage actions, wrongful dismissal, and class actions.

Frances returned to school in September 2005 to pursue her passion for criminal law.  She focused specifically on criminal law defences including automatism, duress, necessity, and completed her Master of Laws degree at the University of Western Ontario while teaching part-time at Fanshawe College.  She then moved to Toronto, Ontario to complete her Ph.D. in law at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.  

Frances finished her Ph.D. in 2009 while teaching full time at St. Jerome’s University at the University of Waterloo.  Her areas of interest are in criminal law and focus on defences including brainwashing, automatism, duress, necessity, and mental disorder.  She focuses particularly on wrongful convictions, violence against women and domestic violence.  Current research includes pedagogy in a law school setting and false confessions.

Date joined Lakehead: 
July 2013
Previous Teaching/Work: 

Dr. Frances Chapman comes to us from the University of Waterloo (St. Jerome's University) where she taught as an Assistant Professor in the Legal Studies program since 2009 and as a contract lecturer since 2007. During her time at St. Jerome's she established a strong reputation for her classroom teaching and in 2012 received the UW Legal Studies Society Distinguished Professor Award.   Frances also won the John Bonsignore award from the Academy of Legal Studies in Business for outstanding teaching in 2013.

Research Interests: 

Her research interests lie in the area of criminal law, criminal defence, tort law and family law and specifically in: child custody and access, parental alienation, children and the law, feminism and the law, women and the law, alternative dispute resolution, false confessions, interpersonal/domestic violence, women and corrections, brainwashing, coercive persuasion, restorative justice, automatism, duress, involuntary servitude and coercive persuasion.


Dr. Chapman is a recipient of the 2018-2019 Contribution to Teaching Award which is nominated by students, and several other teaching awards at the University of Waterloo.