"He really thinks outside the box and is very creative."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

"We value his communication skills as well as his breadth of knowledge and experience."

Chambers & Partners, 2022

“Ed Smyth is an up and coming partner – great client care and commitment to his cases.”

Legal 500 UK 2022

“Ed Smyth is a clever and innovative lawyer. Ed is personable as well as being a fighter.”

Legal 500 UK 2022

Ed represents individuals and corporates  across the full spectrum of criminal and quasi-criminal matters.

His practice encompasses investigations, prosecutions and other litigation conducted by a variety of different agencies concerning criminal defence and police investigations, bribery and corruption, financial crimemoney laundering and extradition. His cases often have an international dimension.

He has particular expertise dealing with law enforcement applications that seek to freeze or seize assets, including Account Freezing Orders and other applications made under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and of challenging the exercise of search and seizure. 

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.

White Collar Crime

Ed has acted in many significant cases brought by the SFO, the Information Commissioner, the Electoral Commission and various professional disciplinary bodies. The cross-border nature of many of these matters means Ed has experience of dealing with a range of foreign jurisdictions (including Russia, the US, India and many European states). In recent years he has acted for the Chief Executive of Cambridge Analytica, a number of senior employees in a global bank, individuals at the centre of allegations of FX manipulation, individuals and corporates involved in pan-European investigations into cum ex trading and suspects in SFO and DoJ bribery and corruption investigations.

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

Outside white collar and financial crime, Ed deals with clients facing a wide range of criminal allegations, from sexual offences to extradition.

Ed specialises in advising clients prior to, or at the earliest stages of, an investigation with a view to preventing further action. Where his cases engage issues beyond criminal law (for example employment, family or dispute resolution) he works with colleagues from other teams within the firm to provide a comprehensive solution.

At the other end of the criminal process, Ed is regularly instructed to advise on challenges to police cautions, appeals against conviction and sentence and in respect of applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

A mark of the high regard in which Ed is held within the profession is his membership of the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee, a law-making body where he sits alongside senior members of the judiciary, the CPS, police and Ministry of Justice.

recent cases

White Collar Crime and Fraud

  • Successfully challenged an Account Freezing Order affecting over £1 million.
  • Negotiated a settlement with the NCA in respect of Account Freezing Orders affecting over £100 million, with no finding of criminal wrongdoing.
  • Acting for a former senior executive in an on-going SFO investigation into global bribery and corruption in the oil and gas industry.
  • Acting for several employees of a global conglomerate under investigation by both the US Department of Justice and the SFO.

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

  • No further action taken against two prominent individuals connected to the “leave” campaign in the EU referendum, alleged to have committed breaches of electoral spending rules.
  • No Further Action taken against a medical doctor following allegations of historical sexual offences.
  • No Further Action taken against a high profile musician in respect of an allegation of assault.
  • No Further Action taken against a financial services professional in a harassment investigation.
  • Acquittal after retrial of a former schoolmaster accused of historical sexual offences, where late disclosure led to original convictions being overturned on appeal.
  • No further action against a father and IT professional alleged to have possessed indecent images of children.
  • Acquittal after trial of a businessman accused of rape. Central to the defence was initially undisclosed Facebook material which undermined the complainant’s allegations.
  • Successful application to the CCRC to refer an allegation of rape by a youth for an appeal.



He is a very capable criminal defence lawyer."

Chambers UK 2021

"A joy to work with - he is committed, supportive and a very good solicitor."

Chambers UK 2021

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

...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

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

A Client

Publications, Press highlights and Speaking engagements


Professional memberships and societies


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.

Serious Fraud

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

Legal advice and support for US citizens, families, entrepreneurs and businesses based in the UK and for British expats living in the US.

Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering

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.

AML 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'

Political Affairs

Our international work includes dealing with the suite of issues that may arise from politically motivated persecutions.

Insight from Ed

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Another Civil Recovery Settlement: SFO v Julio Faerman

A consistent approach to extensions of moratorium periods for Suspicious Activity Reports

Serious Injury by Careless Driving: How Competent Are You?

The NCA finally obtains the benefit of Unexplained Wealth Orders

Tackling Illicit Finance: SFO uses Listed Asset Order for first time

NCA’s Annual Report 2019-20: a focus on recovering the proceeds of crime and asset denial

City of London Police seize more than £2 million in cross-border money laundering operation

Further clarification on the rights of third parties in confiscation proceedings

End of the road for the NCA in NCA v Baker

Unexplained Wealth Orders: An overview of the regime to date

Criminal courts: coping with COVID-19

Unexplained Wealth Orders discharged - "tenacious" NCA to appeal

NCA relentless in demand for answers to unexplained wealth

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

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

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?

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

The European Investigation Order – belatedly in force

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

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

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