Home Barristers Adam Smith

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Adam Smith

Call 2001


Adam practices in all areas of commercial chancery law, and has particular experience in:

  • Commercial and chancery litigation
  • Banking, finance and financial services
  • Fraud
  • Professional negligence
  • Property litigation
  • Trusts and estates

Adam has substantial advocacy and advisory experience; in addition to trials, he is experienced in applications for interim relief, including, in particular, freezing orders. He has appeared before the Court of Appeal on a number of occasions (both as sole counsel and led), and the House of Lords.

He has been instructed in relation to numerous disputes litigated outside this jurisdiction, including in the BVI, the DIFC, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, the Isle of Man and Jamaica.

Adam has appeared in several arbitrations (for example, an LCIA arbitration concerning the ownership of a shareholding worth over US$1 billion in a Russian Federation metals corporation).

Adam’s current and recent cases include:

  • Advising as to proprietary and personal claims in respect of dishonest breach of fiduciary duties by directors of Gibraltar property holding companies
  • Sycamore Bidco v. Breslin & Ors: multi-million pound claim for breach of accounting warranty and misrepresentation, in relation to the sale of an employee benefits consultancy (seven week Chancery Division trial)
  • Invista Real Estate Investment Management Ltd v. Clerical Medical Investment Group Ltd: multi-million pound Commercial Court claim alleging negligence in the management of pension fund property assets
  • Closegate Hotel Development (Durham) Ltd v. McLean: summary dismissal of claim challenging the validity of an appointment of administrators
  • Tossetti Investing Corp v. Bellway Homes Ltd: defence of million pound claim for alleged breach of a conditional sale and purchase agreement in respect of a substantial development site
  • HMRC v. Begum: defence of claim in conspiracy and under s. 423 Insolvency Act 1986, based on an alleged £100m MTIC fraud

Adam has for a number of years been recommended as a leading junior by Chambers UK Directory and the Legal 500 UK.

Areas of Practice

Banking and Finance and Financial Services

  • Bank of Scotland v. Waugh (2014; Ch.D.): personal claim against trustees for repayment of £2.7 million
  • FSA v. Elite Land Developments Ltd (2011-2012; Ch.D.): claim alleging breach of ss. 19 and 21 Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by virtue of land-banking activities
  • (2011) Advising a borrower as to its position in respect of the threatened withdrawal of facilities totalling over £50 million
  • (2010) Advising a private bank in relation to the enforcement of security provided in support of a £20 million facility
  • (2010) Advising a guarantor of a £200 million facility
  • (2009) Advising a major bank, following the Landsbanki collapse, on the correct interpretation of a trust deed and issues of set off, concerning deposits totalling over £30 million
  • FSA (2005-2010): advising in relation to the regulation of certain real estate investment products
  • IIG Capital LLC v. Van Der Merwe (2007-2008; Ch.D., CA): claim for over US$30 million, in enforcement of a guarantee of a loan facility (a leading case on the characterisation of bonds and guarantees)

Commercial disputes

  • Sycamore Bidco v. Breslin & Ors (2011-2014; Ch.D, CA): (see above)
  • Pioneer Freight Futures Co Ltd v. Navios International Inc (2011; Comm. Crt.): multi-million pound claim under various freight future agreements, governed by the 1992 ISDA Master Agreement
  • Graham v. Star Energy Group plc (2010; Ch.D.): multi-million pound claim for breach of obligations relating to the triggering of a right to additional purchase consideration under an agreement for the sale of an energy company
  • Acting for investors in a collapsed BVI hedge fund (2009)
  • Sintonia SA v. Sinatra S.AR.L (2008; Comm. Crt.): multi-million pound dispute concerning complex financing agreements, and involving a challenge to the jurisdiction
  • LCIA Arbitration (2008): (see above)


  • POWA (Jersey) Ltd v. Chater (2014; Ch.D.): claim alleging misappropriations by an employee totalling over £1 million
  • Dunedin Buyout Fund II LP v. Brooks (2011-2012; Ch.D.): claim for over £16 million against a former finance director, alleging fraudulent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty
  • HMRC v. Begum (2007-2014; Ch.D.): claim in conspiracy alleging a £100m MTIC fraud
  • HMRC v. Dayal (2010-2011; Ch.D.): claim in conspiracy alleging a £40m MTIC fraud
  • Pratt v. Couch (2008-2009; Ch.D.): claim alleging undue influence in the obtaining of transfers of the shareholding in a private property investment company worth over £1 million
  • Other experience includes: claims in other economic torts and restitution; claims for dishonest assistance, knowing receipt, and deceit; claims of constructive trust

Partnership, Company, Insolvency and Restructuring

  • Closegate Hotel Development (Durham) Ltd v. McLean (2013, Ch.D.): (see above)
  • (2012): Challenge to the appointment of receivers of a major hotel and apartment development in Jamaica
  • (2011): Advising in relation to an alleged US$13 million preference, at issue in a dispute proceeding in the DIFC
  • Cytos Ltd v. Criss (2011; Ch.D.): claim for unfair prejudice in relation to a property development company
  • LCIA Arbitration (2010-2011): claim against former partners for indemnity in respect of a rent guarantee, following the collapse of a large solicitors’ LLP
  • Hobbs v. Gibson (2008-2009, Ch.D.): defence of substantial claim alleging misfeasance by administrators, and challenging the validity of their appointment
  • (2008): Advising on the rights of a carrier of substantial goods under a contractual lien, following the entry into administration of Woolworths, the goods’ owner
  • Advising on and acting in a number of disputes between partners and arising from partnership dissolutions
  • Other experience includes: shareholders’ disputes; injunctions to restrain presentation / advertisement of winding up petitions; disputed winding up petitions

Professional Liability

  • Bellway Homes Ltd v. Foreman Laws (2014; Ch.D.): claim alleging solicitor’s negligence in relation to a conditional agreement for the purchase of a development site (acting for claimant)
  • Invista Real Estate Investment Management Ltd v. Clerical Medical Investment Group Ltd (2013; Comm. Crt.): (see above)
  • Air Charter Service plc v. Infields (2012; Ch.D.): claim alleging solicitor’s negligence in relation to the grant of a lease of office premises (acting for claimant)
  • Acorn Country Capital Ltd v. Hockleys Professional Ltd (2011; Ch.D.): claim alleging surveyor’s negligence in relation to a property valuation provided to a lender (acting for claimant)
  • Ellis v. Fentimans (2010; Ch.D.): claim alleging solicitors’ negligence in relation to the acquisition of a residential property (acting for claimant)
  • Pringle and Hayim v. Rosenblatt (2009; Ch.D.): claim alleging solicitors’ negligence in the administration of an estate (acting for claimant)
  • Recent instructions include: claims against solicitors, surveyors, accountants, and an administrator of SIPP real property assets; acting for the Law Society in claims following interventions into solicitors’ practices; advising as to liability under solicitors’ undertakings

Property litigation

  • R Square Properties Ltd v. Shiv Saaj Investments Ltd (2014; Ch.D.): dispute concerning the passing of the right to rent on a severance of a freehold reversion in a business park
  • Tossetti Investing Corp v. Bellway Homes Ltd (2013; Ch.D.): (see above)
  • HS2 (2012): advising in relation to claims against a local authority joint-venturer in a substantial development, arising out of the HS2 proposal
  • Da Silva v. Dias Azedo (2011; Ch.D.): dispute concerning the beneficial ownership of a highly valuable house in Chelsea
  • Middlesex University v Persons Unknown (2010; Ch.D.): claim for urgent relief to obtain possession of main university buildings occupied by sit-in protestors
  • Licht v. Bekova (2009; Ch.D.): defence of a multi-million pound claim for damages, following a failure to complete the purchase of Elizabeth Taylor’s former home in Hampstead
  • Earl Cadogan v. 26 Cadogan Square Limited (2008): a leading enfranchisement case before the House of Lords, concerning the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993
  • KPMG v. Network Rail Infrastructure Limited (2008; CA): leading construction and rectification claim concerning a lease of significant commercial premises
  • A full range of property-related disputes and advice, in areas including: enfranchisement; the right of first refusal under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987; terminal dilapidations; landlords’ repairing obligations; service charges (both in respect of large residential developments, and in a commercial context); rent review; consent to assignment; rectification of leases; renewal of business tenancies; forfeiture and break notices; other landlord and tenant matters; adverse possession; business rates; conveyancing; easements; land registration; mortgages and charges; overage; restrictive covenants; reverter; nuisance and trespass.

Trusts, Administration of Estates

  • Remkis Investments Ltd v. Warnes (2014; Ch.D.): claim alleging breach of trust by trustees of a valuable residential property
  • (2014) Advising on the construction of the terms of a Gibraltar discretionary trust
  • (2013) Advising as to the validity of the appointment of, and removal of, trustees of agricultural land
  • (2009) Advising a major bank, following the Landsbanki collapse, on the construction of a trust deed, concerning deposits totalling over £30 million (with Anthony Trace QC)
  • (2009) Advising the Special Trustees of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital as to the construction of substantial legacies left in trust
  • Rivers v. Hill (2008; Ch.D.): claim alleging the existence of a joint and mutual will
  • Substantial experience of the application of trusts law in real property, commercial litigation, and fraud contexts
  • Other experience includes: advising on the administration of estates (including in relation to issues of conflict of laws); advising in relation to breach of duty by personal representatives

Snell's Equity (31st Edition), contributor (chapters on administration of estates)
Commonhold: Law and Practice, contributor (chapters on members and directors of commonhold association)

Notable Cases

Tuscola Ltd v Y2K Co Ltd (2016)

Law Society v Beller (2014)

Closegate Hotel Development (Durham) Ltd & Ors v Joseph McLean (2013)

Igloo Regeneration (General Partner) Ltd & Ors v Powell Williams Partnership (2013)

Sycamore Bidco Ltd v Sean Breslin (No 4) (2013)

Sycamore Bidco Ltd v Sean Breslin (No 3) (2013)

Sycamore Bidco v Breslin & Dawson No. 1 (2012)

Revenue & Customs Commissioners v Noorasa Begum (Rep. Of The Estate Of Mohammed Uddin) (No 2) (2010)

Vernon v Spoudeas & Anor (2010)

Revenue & Customs Commissioners v Noorasa Begum (Rep. Of The Estate Of Mohammed Uddin) (No 1) (2010)

Issac Bruce Hayim, Ian James Pringle, Jill Mary Ross v Jeanne Regina Couch (2009)

Earl Cadogan & Ors v 26 Cadogan Square Ltd : Howard De Walden Estates Ltd v Aggio & Ors (2008)

Knowles v Knowles (2008)

IIG Capital LLC v Van der Merwe (2008)

Van Der Merwe v IIG Capital LLC (2007)

KPMG v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd (2007)

Centrica Langage Ltd v Langage Energy Park Ltd (2007)

TSP Group Ltd v Globemark (UK) Ltd & Undersheriff of Cheshire (2005)

Burford (Fareham) Ltd v Christian Vision (2005)

Chancery Bar Association (former committee member)
Financial Services Lawyers Association
Property Bar Association

BA(Hons) (Oxon) (scholar and prize winner of University College, Oxford)

What the directories say

Chambers UK 2020

Real Estate Litigation
"He is always thorough and reflects the commercial realities of the client's needs." "Super technical and great to have in your camp." "A fantastic barrister – incredibly clever and very knowledgeable of law and procedure."

Chambers UK 2019

Real Estate Litigation
"Very responsive and persuasive." "Very thorough; clients like his consistency and he never fails to impress."

Chambers UK 2018

Real Estate Litigation
"He's very good on paper and always offers commercial views." "Adam has a very good manner and his knowledge of the law is extremely impressive."

Chambers UK

Real Estate Litigation
"His advice is always spot-on and he has pulled a couple of rabbits out of the hat this year... Judges like him and he has had some great results."

"He is an excellent barrister who thrives on providing creative and practical solutions to complex legal problems." “He is particularly sought out for his innovative and technical advice, and for his excellent client service.”

"He has an eye for detail and the ability to find clear answers to knotty technical questions." (2016)

"He is very capable and is very detailed in his advice." (2015)

"The quality of his work is always first-class and he is an extremely easy individual to work with. He is also willing to meet with the clients and explain matters to them in a concise but understandable manner." (2014)

"Very thorough and very effective when handling complex issues." (2013)

"Bright, approachable and helpful - a good barrister coming up through the ranks." (2012)

"He is a solid advocate with really good drafting abilities." (2010)

“A steadfast junior” (2009)

Legal 500 UK

Property Litigation
"A thoroughly recommended advocate." (2020)
"Very intellectual and can be trusted to come up with the right answer." (2018/19)
"Exceptionally intelligent but also a team player and a pleasure to work with." (2017)

"He is very approachable and provides sensible advice." (2016)

"Exceptionally clever, and very good with clients." (2015)

"He picks up matters quickly and has a good legal knowledge." (2014)

"Attention to detail is incredible" (2010)