Ian Smith (2003)

(Approved and Authorised to Conduct Litigation)

"A knowledgeable civil fraud specialist who is utterly committed to his clients and fearless in his advocacy." "Go-to junior for fraud cases."

(Civil Fraud - Chambers UK 2018)

"He has a wealth of experience and provides robust and client-focused advice."

(POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture  - Chambers UK 2018)

‘Hugely knowledgeable on the crossover between criminal and civil fraud.’ 

(Fraud: Civil - Legal 500 2016)

“Ian is meticulous in his preparation. He is an excellent communicator”

(Civil Fraud - Chambers UK 2017)

“He is hard-working, utterly committed, great with clients, and  someone who sees the big picture” 

(POCA work and Asset forfeiture - Chambers UK 2017)

Ian is a commercial litigator, dealing with complex and high value cases, usually with an international dimension, and a specialist in civil-court fraud litigation, asset recovery, anti-money laundering and sanctions laws and professional risks management.

Ian Practiced as a solicitor in London from 1995 and was a solicitor advocate until his call to the Bar in 2003.  Ian is instructed by a range of firms in the UK and overseas.

Proceeds of Crime Litigation

Ian litigates Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 issues in a range of courts: 

  • Court of Appeal
  • Crown Courts
  • Administrative Court (civil recovery)
  • Commercial Court (for example, insurance claims with POCA issues)
  • Chancery Division (for example, money laundering issues) 
  • Tax Tribunal (POCA tax assessments)
  • Magistrates’ Courts (forfeiture and cash seizure)
  • Technical advice in cases in other jurisdictions

Civil Fraud 

Ian's Civil Work Involves:

  • Fraud, breach of fiduciary duties and other misconduct claims in the Chancery Division, the Commercial Court and the Queen’s Bench Division
  • Freezing orders, search and seizure orders, Norwich Pharmacal orders and letters of request to overseas jurisdictions  
  • Asset recovery investigations and tracing claims in the UK and overseas
  • Advising victims of fraud on the interaction between civil and criminal investigations and proceedings 
  • Disciplinary investigations and proceedings



Ian is well known and highly regarded for his advice to City and other law firms, professional services firms, real estate service firms and financial services firms in relation to their own issues of compliance and reputation management, in particular in relation to POCA, Sanctions legislation and related civil and professional liability issues. 

The objective of Ian’s advice work is to help his clients avoid liability and public exposure before the courts, professional regulators and the media. His highly confidential, strategic and practical advice, includes both preventative advice and situational advice, on: 

  • The applicability of POCA and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007
  • The applicability of sanctions legislation involving EU, UN and US sanctions
  • Onboarding of clients, including politically exposed persons and higher risk clients and customer due diligence
  • Obligations to report suspicions of money laundering and breaches of sanctions
  • Legal professional privilege and POCA privilege
  • Civil liability
  • Professional conduct and disciplinary issues
  • Exiting problematic and higher risk client relationships where permitted by professional rules
  • POCA court orders, e.g. production orders
  • Obtaining consent from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (for money laundering issues) and HM Treasury (for sanctions issues) to carry out transactions
  • Bespoke in-house training


  • His practice covers all aspects of civil fraud work, including international disputes and asset tracing. Expertise: “Very capable, especially where there are criminal issues in the case.” “He’s completely fearless and his tactical skills are first-rate.” Recent work: Acted as sole counsel for a defendant in Otkritie v Urumov; a USD183 million dispute concerning alleged fraudulent trading. (Civil Fraud - Chambers UK 2015).
  • Undertakes a large amount of advisory work in relation to proceeds of crime law. He is a founding committee member of the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers’ Association. Expertise: “He’s one of the very few at the Bar who can do criminal and civil confiscation work.” “A very good lawyer who’s very astute.” Recent work: Acted in a claim brought by SOCA seeking to raise and enforce tax assessments against a foreign national with whom SOCA had previously settled civil recovery claims under POCA. (POCA work and Asset forfeiture - Chambers UK 2015)
  • Ian Smith is particularly strong on international cases and is praised for his “quick turnaround of work”. (Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2015)
  • “Very thorough and careful in his preparation.” (Fraud: civil - Legal 500 2014)
  • He is an expert on both the civil and criminal aspects of asset forfeiture and focuses his work in this field primarily on helping clients to avoid public exposure and liability in court. Expertise: “He’s very accessible, turns around work very quickly, and is efficient and precise.” Recent work: acted for the claimants in a case concerning property title insurance claims defended on the basis of a breach of the due diligence requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. (POCA work & Asset forfeiture - Chambers UK 2014)
  • Acknowledged as an expert in asset recovery. He is further sought after to advise on cases involving criminal law aspects. Expertise: “Gets on top of very complicated facts very quickly.” “He’s quick at turning around work, and is accurate and precise in all he does.” Recent work: he was instructed as sole counsel in relation to a £1 million fraud and asset tracing case arising from an overseas land banking scheme. (Fraud: civil - Chambers UK 2014)
  • In 2013, Ian was shortlisted for ‘The Chambers 100 UK Bar - The Juniors’ listing. 


  • Lead editor and co-author of the practitioners’ Smith, Owen & Bodnar on Asset Recovery: Criminal Confiscation and Civil Recovery (Oxford University Press).
  • Co-authored The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities, International Recovery and Civil and Criminal Liability (Hart Publishing). 


  • Founding committee member of the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association and was on its committee for 5 years (2008-2013)
  • Secretary of the European Criminal Bar Association (2000-2003)