An excellent advocate.
Ben has over 20 years’ experience at the highest level of criminal proceedings from pre-charge written advice to appellate advocacy. Ben has experience in criminal defence, private prosecutions and inquests. For over a decade Ben has been instructed on an almost exclusively private basis in relation to all levels of alleged criminality and at all stages of criminal proceedings including the pre-charge stage, pre-trial applications and fully contested trials. His phenomenal results and level of instruction are testament to his work rate and winning strategies.
Ben is a specialist criminal defence advocate and adviser with particular expertise in defending serious and organised crime, large-scale fraud and homicide (from multiple murders to corporate manslaughter). Additionally, Ben is instructed in Inquests, Inquiries, Court Martials and regulatory proceedings (defending in cases bought by the FCA, HSE and Trading Standards).
Ben has been regularly and privately instructed by Mishcon de Reya, Kingsley Napley, BCL (London), Edward Fail Bradshaw and Waterson and Grosvenor Law (Mayfair). These cases have involved representing a range of individuals from company directors (from multiple jurisdictions), foreign nationals, doctors, police officers, professional sports persons and ultra-high net worth individuals.
His work rate, ability and experience in defending in large scale, serious and complex criminal cases is unrivalled. He is committed, extremely hard working and determined.
In 2008, when Ben was first ranked, he was the youngest ranked “Leading Junior” in Chambers and Partners directory.
Since 2015, Ben has been recommended as a Leading Junior in crime in the top 20 criminal barristers (non-silk) in Legal 500.
Ben is qualified to accept instructions on a Direct Access basis.
Ben has a wealth of experience in traditional criminal defence (traditional and white collar), private prosecutions, regulatory and inquisitorial proceedings:
- Ben represents a retired Chief Superintendent in both inquest and criminal proceedings arising from the Hillsborough stadium disaster.
- Ben is currently representing company directors under investigation for corporate manslaughter and other health and safety breaches in both inquest and criminal proceedings. News link.
- Ben is acting in inquest and criminal proceedings for a senior retired police officer in respect of policing issues arising from historical criminal investigations under consideration by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (Westminster strand).
- Ben has recently represented a trader in an investigation by the US Department of justice, SFO and FCA in to LIBOR related issues. This matter involves regulatory proceedings by the FCA before the Regulatory Decisions Committee, as well as a criminal investigation by the SFO. The FCA rigorously sought a prohibition order. However, the RDC were persuaded this wasn't an appropriate sanction. Consequently, the trader was the only individual allegedly involved in LIBOR to avoid any sanction.
- Ben prosecuted in the case of Allseas v PS, the largest successful private fraud prosecution to date involving an attempt to gain control of 100 million euros.
As the recent cases below demonstrate, Ben secures alternative non-custodial outcomes in complex and difficult cases. He tirelessly pursues and secures the best outcomes whether avoiding immediate imprisonment or minimising financial, commercial and reputational damage.
- R v FL - Privately instructed in a fraud by false representation and breaches of Medicinal Regulations for selling a fake Covid-19 Cure. The product had been sent to the US and France and involved evidence from the American authorities. After representations to the CPS about the client's genuinely held belief in the efficacy of the product, the client pleaded to regulatory offences. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-53338214, Suspended sentence imposed.
- R v WD - Instructed privately by Sam Healey of JMW Solicitors in respect of an allegation of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence. An immediate custodial sentence was avoided. Click here for further details.
- R v ML - Privately instructed in a knife point robbery allegation with a guideline starting point of 4 years immediate custody. Suspended sentence imposed.
- Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
- Fraud Lawyers Association
- Criminal Bar Association
- South Eastern Circuit
- "His track record of concluding cases with results that aren't usually achievable speaks for itself, and is testament to his unrelenting work ethic." Chambers UK 2024, Crime
- "He takes a tactical and strategic approach." Chambers UK 2024, Crime
- "Ben is a prodigious worker with a huge appetite for perfection and an equal eye for detail. He is technically excellent, methodical, organised and tactically astute. He has all the qualities of a top barrister. His advocacy is direct and persuasive. He possesses endless charm, wit and good humour. He is a genuine star in this field." Legal 500 2024, Fraud: Crime
- "Ben is a standout junior at the criminal Bar. His work ethic is a class apart, and his ability to digest material is second-to-none. His advocacy, both written and oral, is considered and devastating on a prosecution case or criminal investigation." Legal 500 2024, Crime
- "Ben Smitten is a sought-after junior who acts exclusively as a criminal defence advocate and adviser in murder, large-scale fraud and serious organised crime cases. He also frequently defends UK nationals charged with criminal offences in other jurisdictions. Smitten mainly accepts privately funded cases unless the matter is of public importance, such as the inquest and criminal proceedings arising from the Hillsborough stadium disaster." Chambers UK 2023, Crime
- "His advocacy and written skills are both exceptional." Chambers UK 2023, Crime
- "He is so methodical and puts in so much hard work that as a result he achieves very positive results." Chambers UK 2022
- 'Ben is a perfectionist and his work is a reflection of this. His case preparation is beyond thorough and nothing is too much trouble when there is work to be done. He has a good rapport with clients and is able to break things down in a way that makes them feel at ease. He is extremely efficient and always ensures that deadlines are met and that what should be done, has been.'Legal 500 Crime 2022
- Recommended as a leader in Crime in Chambers UK 2019
- Recommended as a leader in Crime in Legal 500 2018
- ‘An excellent advocate.’ Legal 500 2016
- ‘He has a knack of finding practical solutions when others fail.’ Legal 500 2017
- 'Immensely hardworking and excellent with clients, who find him unstuffy and refreshing.’ Legal 500 2018