Ed Smyth

Senior Associate

Criminal Litigation

"He is a master of his cases - thoughtful, pragmatic and very client-focused. I am always very impressed with his legal acumen and application of it to the facts in any case."

Chambers UK 2020 - A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

“The best advice my civil lawyers ever gave me was to point me in the direction of Ed Smyth”

A Client

Ed is a Senior Associate in the Criminal Litigation Department and represents individuals and corporates involved across the full spectrum of criminal and quasi-criminal matters including fraud and financial crime, sex offences, extradition and inquests.

Ed’s practice encompasses investigations, prosecutions and other litigation (by a variety of different agencies) concerning complex fraud, financial crime and money laundering. He has considerable experience of confiscation and asset forfeiture proceedings and of challenging the exercise of search and seizure powers. He has acted in cases involving the SFO, the Information Commissioner, the Electoral Commission and various professional disciplinary bodies. 

Befitting the often high profile nature of his cases, Ed is very sensitive to clients’ reputational needs. He is adept at handling the media and devising strategies to minimise publicity. His calm and thorough approach is praised by his clients, as is his enviable success rate.

Ed also specialises in advising clients prior to, or at the earliest stages of, an investigation with a view to preventing further action. Ed has also acted for many clients at the other end of the criminal process: in challenges to police cautions, in appeals against conviction and sentence and in respect of applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

In 2019, Ed was appointed as a member of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC). The CPRC was established by the Courts Act 2003 to make clear and simply expressed rules of governing the practice and procedure of the criminal courts, with the aim of making the criminal justice system accessible, fair and efficient.

Reported cases


  • “Operation Euripus” (2007-2011); MTIC.
  • “Operation Rosary” (2011-14); MTIC.
  • “Operation Bulkhead” (2013-); film finance fraud.
  • “Operation Hornet” (2013-); fraudulent trading within HBOS.

Confiscation/Money Laundering

  • Crown Prosecution Service v G [2010] EWHC 1117 (Admin).
  • Hindley, R. v [2011] EWCA Crim 2100


  • Mucelli v Government of Albania [2009] UKHL 2
  • Hertel v Government of Canada [2010] EWHC 2305 (Admin)


Professional societies and memberships

  • Member of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC)
  • Defence Extradition Lawyers’ Forum (DELF)
  • London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association (LCCSA)
  • Liberty
  • Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA)


Publications, press Highlights, speaking engagements & blogs


...is a master of his cases; thoughtful, pragmatic and very client focused

Legal 500 UK 2020

a very good advocate who is very attentive to detail."

Chambers and Partners 2019

"quickly gains the trust of clients with his sympathetic yet practical and realistic manner"

Chambers and Partners UK, 2018

Related Services

Sexual Offences

We deal with the highest profile and most sensitive cases, providing expert advice and support to both individuals and companies.

Bribery and Corruption

We have a long track record of defending corruption investigations for individuals. Our expert lawyers can also advise on internal investigations.

Fraud and Financial Crime

Defending complex white collar cases successfully is what we are known for. The firm has the largest team of specialist criminal lawyers in the UK.

Police Station Representation and Advice

Our team includes specialist police station advisers. We are proactive in achieving the best outcomes for our clients.

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

From police station representation and advice to restraint and confiscation proceedings, we are proactive in achieving the best outcomes.

Sexual Offences FAQs

Our criminal lawyer experts address some of the most frequently asked questions regarding sexual offence allegations.

Dealing with a Data Breach

Our specialist data breach solicitors can assist you from the moment that a breach is first identified to the conclusion of the legal processes which may follow.

Medical Cannabis: Licensing and Investment

We advise corporates and individuals on all aspects of investing and licensing in cannabis industry.

American Services

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Proceeds of Crime

Recent years have seen considerable growth in this practice area, following the introduction of new measures designed to tackle illicit finance and the increased attention of enforcement agencies.

Account Freezing and Forfeiture Orders, and Cash Seizure

Tackling illicit finance and the proceeds of crime is a government priority and law enforcement focus.

Money Laundering Regulation and Compliance

Ensuring that the UK financial system is an increasingly hostile environment for illicit finances is a key government priority.

Restraint Orders, Confiscation and Third Party Rights

We advise individuals and corporates in relation to restraint orders and third party applications in respect of property caught by restraint orders.

Unexplained Wealth Orders

UWOs are used by law enforcement agencies to require an individual to prove that a particular asset was obtained through legitimate means.

Extending Moratorium Periods

Another feature of the Proceeds of Crime Act that can have the unwelcome effect of freezing property is the 'moratorium period'

Insight from Ed

View all


Unexplained Wealth Orders for prime property

HMRC turns to companies to police tax evasion

Unexplained Wealth Orders: What we know one year on

Diamonds are (not) forever: NCA keeps up pressure on unexplained wealth

Ensuring crime doesn’t pay: confiscation regime under review

The UK’s new National Economic Crime Centre

Global Britain: The Future of UK Sanctions Policy

Unexplained Wealth Orders – can you prove the legitimate provenance of all of your significant assets?

Data Protection Act 2018 and law enforcement: an introduction

The Data Protection Act 2018: new criminal offences for data breaches

Media focus on first 'McMafia law' challenge

Russia 2018: the ugly face of the beautiful game

Sanctions in the spotlight: Treasury Committee inquiry

The Data Protection Bill - New Criminal Offences for Data Protection Breaches On Their Way to the Statute Book

Irish ruling on Polish extradition request has potentially far-reaching consequences for EAW scheme

Time to apply the brakes: do we need a new offence of dangerous cycling?

UK sanctions after Brexit: the future remains unclear

Rape case collapses due to egregious non-disclosure: shocking but not in the least surprising

Holding Corporates to Account: Criminal Liability for Failure to Prevent Facilitation of Tax Evasion

The European Investigation Order – belatedly in force

Criminal Finances Act 2017

Failing to observe the duty of candour – City of London Police production order quashed

The cyber threat to UK businesses – NCSC/NCA publish 2016/17 annual report

Reform of Official Secrets legislation to recognise contemporary challenges to national security

Home Affairs Committee report: can the Proceeds of Crime be made to pay

Corporate manslaughter, health and safety and food safety sentencing guidelines published

High-profile cases: speak or be forever damned

New guidance to prosecutors on “Revenge Porn”

The Psychoactive Substances Bill 2015-16 – legal highs, how low can you go?

Polish judicial Authority v Celinski: the end of Article 8 in extradition?

Private prosecutions for crimes of Universal Jurisdiction

Surveillance and the individual – a move towards greater transparency

Subject of Unexplained Wealth Order now hit with Account Freezing Order

Proceeds of Crime: new Asset Recovery Action Plan seeks to leave “no safe space” for dirty money

NCA obtains first UWO against a suspected organised criminal – a change in approach

The rights of third parties in confiscation matters: an inhospitable landscape

HMRC takes on off-shore tax evasion

Will the new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion and enhanced international tax transparency change the landscape for tax investigations?

SRA NOT SFO: Professional obligations and s2 interviews - Law Society says do not compromise

HMRC proposals for tackling off-shore tax evasion seriously flawed

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Contact Ed

+44 (0)20 7814 1242


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