Professor Lionel Smith

  • College positions:
    Fellow in Law
    College Lecturer in Law
    Director of Studies in Law Part II
  • University positions:
    Downing Professor of the Laws of England
  • Subjects: Law


BSc, Zoology and Philosophy (Toronto); LLB, Law (Western Ontario); LLM, Law (Cambridge; Caius); DPhil, MA, DCL, Law (Oxford); LLB, Civil Law (Montréal)

Research interests

Lionel Smith is interested in all aspects of fundamental comparative private law. He is particularly engaged with how private law understands aspects of unselfish behaviour, and he has an active research agenda in the law relating to trusts, fiduciary obligations, gifts, and restitution, in civil law and in common law.

Teaching Interests

Primarily restitution and Equity and trusts; also commercial law, remedies, property, and legal theory, in common law and civil law.

Awards and prizes

Sir William McNair Prize for Law (Caius, 1990)

Honorary Senior Scholarship (Caius, 1990)

Society of Public Teachers of Law Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship by a Younger Scholar (1999)

Widdifield Award (2010)

Visiting Fellowship, All Souls College (2011-2012)

Killam Research Fellowship (2014)

Selected publications

He is the author of The Law of Tracing (OUP 1997) and a co-author of Waters’ Law of Trusts in Canada (Carswell 2021) 5th edn. Professor Smith is also a co-author and the English reporter of Commercial Trusts in European Private Law (CUP 2005; paperback 2009) and is the editor or co-editor of several books and special issues of law journals, including Equity and Trusts (Edward Elgar 2019) (with Alexandra Popovici), Comparative Property Law: Global Perspectives (Edward Elgar 2017) (with Michele Graziadei), The Worlds of the Trust (CUP 2013), La fiducie en droit civil (a special issue ((2013) 58:4) of the McGill Law Journal) and Re-imagining the Trust: Trusts in Civil Law (CUP 2012; Chinese translation, Law Press China 2021). His book The Law of Loyalty will be published by OUP in the near future.