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Faculty Contact Details

Room: T15

Tel: (01223) 330079

College Contact Details

Room: S8, Tree Court

Tel: (01223) 335415

Downing Professor of the Laws of England; Director, Cambridge Private Law Centre

BSc, Zoology and Philosophy (Toronto); LLB (Western Ontario); LLM, LLD (Cambridge; Caius); DPhil, MA, DCL (Oxford); LLB (civil law) (Montréal).


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.

Research centres and interest groups

CV / Biography

Lionel Smith taught at the University of Alberta (1991-2; 1994-96), Oxford University (1996-2000) and McGill University (2000-2022) before being appointed Downing Professor of the Laws of England and a fellow of Gonville and Caius College in 2022. He is also the Director of the Cambridge Private Law Centre.

Smith's latest book, The Law of Loyalty, was published by OUP in 2023, including in an electronic version by subscription. He is the author of The Law of Tracing (OUP 1997) and a co-author of Waters’ Law of Trusts in Canada, 5th edn (Carswell 2021). He 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). 

A full list of publications is available to download.




The Law of Loyalty, 2023)