IAN SMITH (2003)


(Approved and Authorised to accept Public Access clients and to Conduct Litigation)

Ian is a commercial litigator, dealing with complex and high value cases, usually with an international dimension.

He is a specialist in commercial and civil-court fraud litigation, asset recovery, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, anti-tax evasion, financial sanctions laws, risk management and compliance.

Ian represents both corporations and individuals from a diverse range of commercial sectors, and countries.

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 law firms in the UK and overseas.

"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)

“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 & Asset Forfeiture - Chambers UK 2017)



Ian acts both for claimants and defendants in the Business and Property Courts. Many of his cases involve allegations of fraud, corruption and breach of fiduciary duties as well as contract and restitution claims.

Ian is routinely involved in the international asset recovery investigations and proceedings, obtaining or defending against freezing orders, search and seizure orders, disclosure orders and letters of request to overseas jurisdictions.

Ian also represents victims of fraud in their relations with the police and prosecuting agencies and in the criminal courts. He is renowned for his expertise in advising on the interaction between civil and criminal investigations and proceedings.


Ian litigates Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) issues in a range of courts: Court of Appeal; Criminal Courts (victims' claims for restitution and compensation; and confiscation); Administrative Court (civil recovery, in particular the rights of victims and third parties); Business Courts (for example, insurance claims with POCA issues); Tax Tribunal (POCA tax assessments); Magistrates’ Courts (forfeiture and cash seizure); Technical advice in cases in other jurisdictions.


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 anti-corruption, anti-fraud, anti-money laundering, sanctions legislation, anti-tax evasion and related civil and professional liability issues. 


Lead editor of the looseleaf practitioners' text, Asset Recovery: Criminal Confiscation and Civil Recovery (OUP, Looseleaf), which contains the chapter Criminal Compensation, Restitution and Forfeiture Orders, of which he is the current contributor. 

Lead author of the publication, Smith & Shepherd, Commercial and Cyber Fraud: a Legal Guide to Justice for Businesses (Bloomsbury, May 2019).

Author of the forthcoming work for legal practitioners, A Practitioner's Guide to Commercial and Cyber Fraud: Claiming Compensation in the Civil and Criminal Courts (Bloomsbury, 2020).

Co-author of The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities, International Recovery and Civil Liability (Hart, 2012).

Ian was a contributor to Rui / Sieber (eds), Non-Conviction-Based Confiscation in Europe (Duncker & Humblot -Berlin, 2015).


Bar Council of England and Wales, approved and authorised by the Bar Standards Board to conduct litigation and to carry out public access work for clients who do not use other lawyers to instruct counsel. 

Member of the UK Attorney General's Civil Panel of Counsel (London B) (2016-present)

Founding committee member and first President of VOCAL - the Victims of Crime Association of Lawyers (2015-2019) (www.vocaladvocates.org).  Ian is now the Immediate Past President.

Founding committee member of the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (2008-2013) (www.pocla.org)

Secretary of the European Criminal Bar Association (2000-2003) (www.ecba.org)


‘Hugely knowledgeable on the crossover between criminal and civil fraud.’ (Fraud: Civil - Legal 500 2016).

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