Complement is well appreciated to be a potent innate immune defense against microbes and is important in the housekeeping act of removal of apoptotic and effete cells. It is also understood that hyperactivation of complement, or the lack of regulators, may underlie chronic inflammatory diseases. A pipeline of products to intervene in complement activation, some already in clinical use, is being studied in various chronic inflammatory diseases. To date, the role of complement in inflammatory bowel disease has not received a lot of research interest. Novel genetically modified laboratory animals and experiments using antagonists to complement effector molecules have kindled important research observations implicating the complement system in inflammatory bowel disease pathogenesis. We review the evidence base for the role and potential therapeutic manipulation of the complement cascade in inflammatory bowel disease.