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Adam is an experienced human rights and public lawyer with a strong civil law background. He has acted at all levels including in the Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.

He has extensive expertise in public law, human rights, prison law, immigration and asylum, inquests, medical law, mental health law, and actions against the police. He has acted in five major public inquiries.

Adam is well-known for his human rights advocacy work. He founded both the multi-award winning human rights charity RightsInfo and the acclaimed UK Human Rights Blog, and is a sought after legal commentator on social media (@adamwagner1), television and radio.

He regularly lectures to audiences of all levels of expertise and has given evidence to a number of parliamentary committees. He has been appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission B Panel. 

In 2015, Adam won the Plain English Campaign’s Communicator award for his work on RightsInfo and in the same year was shortlisted for Human Rights Lawyer of the Year at the Liberty Awards.

What the directories say

Adam is ranked as a leading junior in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500.

Directory quotes:

  • ‘A stand-out junior, able to draw on an encyclopaedic knowledge of the current problem areas pertaining to the European Convention on Human Rights.’  - Legal 500 2018

  • "A delightful opponent who fights his client’s corner fearlessly.”  - Legal 500 2018

  • "He's very enthusiastic about the case, good on the law and gives clear advice."  - Chambers and Partners 2017

  • "A knowledgeable and recognised practitioner who comes recommended for his deep understanding of human rights issues. He has extensive experience of acting in significant cases, from unlawful detention claims to freedom of religion cases.” Chambers and Partners 2016

  • “An innovative and creative lawyer who spots points others might miss.” - Legal 500 2015

  • “One of the most able public lawyers of his generation.”  - Legal 500 2015

  • “strong on challenges to the circumstances of immigration and prison detention, as well as issues arising in the context of mental health… … extraordinarily literate... has a great understanding of human rights issues”  - Chambers and Partners 2015

Administrative and Public Law

Adam is a versatile lawyer who has acted in key public law and human rights cases across a variety of areas. He regularly lectures on public law for example to the Judicial Review and Public Law Project conferences and is regularly called on to assist with parliamentary committees and inquiries.

Key cases

  • R (on the application of Susan Wilson & Others) v The Prime Minister [2019] – Acting for the Claimant in a Brexit-related against the Prime Minister for failing to take into account the findings of the Electoral Commission that the Leave campaign cheated during the 2016 Referendum campaign.
  • Jogee and Ruddock v The Queen (Jamaica) [2016] UKSC 8. Junior Counsel for Ameen Jogee in the landmark Supreme Court challenge to the law of Joint Enterprise, including making oral submission on Article 7 ECHR and Principle of Legality.

  • Acting for Asher Johnson in a follow-up application to Jogee in the European Court of Human Rights, led by Felicity Gerry Q.C.

  • Janet Alder [2016]. Acted for Janet Alder, whose brother Christopher's body was retained in a local mortuary for almost a decade without her knowledge, in a successful human rights claim against the local mortuary. Instructed by Liberty;

  • Chief Constable of Greater Manchester v Calder [2015] EWHC B11 (QB)). Acted for a Grime rapper in a High Court appeal by the Greater Manchester Police, who sought to impose a gang injunction on him with reference to the lyrics of his online rapping

  • Begraj v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 250 (QB)), Acted in a human rights damages claim following the collapse of a 'caste discrimination’ employment tribunal

  • Acted for the Legal Ombudsman in its first contested Judicial Review (Layard Horsfall Ltd v The Legal Ombudsman [2013] EWHC 4137 (QB)) and a number of subsequent cases (Hafiz & Haque Solicitors, R v Legal Ombudsman [2014] EWHC 1539 (Admin); Ejiofor (t/a Mitchell And Co Solicitors) v Legal Ombudsman [2016] EWHC 1933 (Admin)).

Prison Law

Adam acts in claims involving parole reviews, provision of rehabilitative courses, prison violence, claims arising from deaths in prisons and claims involving repatriation of foreign prisoners.

  • AB, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Justice [2019] EWCA Civ 9. Acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (led by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC) intervening in the Court of Appeal in this case about the prolonged detention of a minor in solitary confinement

  • Scott Johnson v Governor of HMP Wayland and SSJ [2018] CO/2389/2018. Successfully acted for a prison with severe mental health issues in a judicial review claim against the refusal to place him in segregation and transfer him to protect him from violence within a prison

  • Dixon, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWCA Civ 961). Acted (unled) for Francis Dixon in a 2017 Court of Appeal challenge to delay in releasing him from prison

  • Bucpapa v Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWHC 1895 (Admin). Acted successfully for a participant in the “Securitor Heist” in a Judicial Review of a refusal to repatriate him to Albania

  • Stephen Helm v SSJ [2016] CO/5780/2016. Acted successfully for a prisoner in a challenge to the SSJ’s pilot policy of automatically preventing oral Parole Board hearings being held if a recalled prisoner has 24 weeks or less from their Sentence Expiry Date

  • Calder, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWCA Civ 1050. Acted in a key Court of Appeal decision on the powers and duties of the Secretary of State when recalling people to prison

Inquiries and Inquests

Adam regularly acts for families in inquests. He has a particular expertise in relation to deaths resulting from mental and physical health conditions. He has extensive experience in medical law including clinical negligence and regularly acts in civil claims arising from inquest findings.

  • Inquest into the death of Claire Greaves (2019) - Acted for the family in an inquest of a young mental health campaigner who sadly died whilst detained at Cygnet Hospital in Coventry. The jury found there were multiple 'unbelievable' failings which caused the death (Press coverage)

  • Inquest into the death of Terry Perkins (2019) - Acted for the family in an inquest relating to the death in prison of the ringleader of the Hatton Garden robbery (Press coverage)
  • Inquest into the death of Tyrone Givans (2019) – Acted in this inquest in which the jury concluded there had been multiple failings in caring for a profoundly deaf prisoner who hanged himself (Press coverage)

  • Inquest into the Death of Emma Butler (2018) -   Acted for the family of Emma Butler in a three-week inquest relating to her death whilst detained in a mental health facility. The jury reached a number of critical conclusions (Press coverage)

  • Inquest into the death of John Delahaye (2018) – Acted for the family in a 5-day inquest concerned the death of a diabetic prisoner who deliberately overdosed on insulin. The jury found that he should not have been given the insulin pen in the first place (Press coverage)

Adam has acted in five major public inquiries:

  • Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Acting for former MP Harvey Proctor in the Westminster Strand, led by Geoffrey Robertson QC (2019)
  • Independent Investigation into the First Minister’s Actions relating to the death of Carl Sargeant AM. Currently acting as sole Counsel to the Investigation (2018 - ongoing)

  • Al-Sweady Inquiry into allegations of mistreatment and unlawful killing by the British military in Iran

  • Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Inquiry: acted for the Department of Health in an investigation into systemic failings in the NHS

  • Baha Mousa Inquiry into the use of ‘stress’ and ‘conditioning’ techniques on detainees by the British military in Iraq, acting for most of the soldiers.

Immigration and Asylum

Adam has strong expertise in all aspects of immigration and asylum law. He regularly acts in the High Court, Upper Tribunal and First Tier Tribunal and has extensive experience of unlawful detention claims. Recent examples include:

  • Mr Muhammed Ali v The Home Office [2019] – Successfully acted for a man with severe mental health issues was detained for over a month despite there being no possible justification for the Home Office doing so.

  • Miss Bokan Mohamad -and- Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] - successfully acted for the Appellant in this asylum appeal which related to the refusal by the Secretary of State to accept the Appellant faced discrimination and undue hardship if she was returned to Kirkuk, Iraq

  • Mr. Ricardo Orlando Saunders v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018]  successfully acted for the Appellant in an Article 8 ECHR appeal against the refusal to grant him leave to remain – the Tribunal ruled that he was deeply involved in his family’s lives and so should be granted leave

  • Khazar v SSH [2016] - Succesfully acted for the claimant in a false imprisonment claim by an Iraqi national, including twice resisting a strike out on res judicata grounds prior to settlement
Actions Against The Police

Adam regularly acts for claimants in actions against the police. He has particular expertise in actions which include human rights elements. Recent cases include:

  • R(Seik) v- Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2018] – Successfully acted for the claiant in a judicial review challenge to the refusal to instigate misconduct proceedings against two police officers who assaulted the claimant

  • JL v Chief Constable [2018] – a claim relating to the allegedly unlawful arrest and strip search of a child with autism

Equality and Discrimination

Adam has strong expertise in equalities law and has acted in a number employment cases with an equalities element.

In 2019, Adam acted for the Campaign Against Antisemitism in its application to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to launch a formal ’section 20’ investigation into the Labour Party.

He has regularly acted for the University College Union (UCU) and various teaching unions representing academics and teachers in the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), including acting for a professor at Brunel University (Vaseghi v Brunel), a blind disability officer in a successful discrimination claim against his employer (Lambert v Lewisham College) and 24 teachers in a successful Employment Tribunal and EAT claim against a private school (Morris & Ors v E Ivor Hughes Trust).