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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 six public inquiries and is currently Specialist Advisor to the Joint Committee on Human Rights Covid-19 Inquiry.

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

Adam regularly lectures on human rights law and is currently a Visiting Professor of Law at Goldsmiths University. He is the Consultant Editor of the 2020 Prison Law edition of Halsbury’s Laws of England. In 2019 he was appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission ‘A' Panel of Counsel. 

He was shortlisted for Human Rights Junior of the Year in the 2020 Legal 500 Awards. He has won the Plain English Campaign’s Communicator award for his work on RightsInfo and has previously been shortlisted for Human Rights Lawyer of the Year at the Liberty Awards and Legal Personality of the Year at the Solicitors Journal Awards.

What the directories say

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

Directory quotes:

  • "He brings objectivity and expertise whilst fighting his client's corner and does a very good job for them.” - Chambers and Partners 2022

  •  "Adam Wagner is unparalleled in terms of his understanding and knowledge of COVID regulations.” - Chambers and Partners 2022

  • "He is an innovative and thoughtful lawyer who is incredibly hard-working and well prepared.” - Chambers and Partners 2022

  • "a fantastic public law and human rights specialist."- Legal 500 2022

  •  "Adam has a first-rate intelligence and a highly personable manner. He is able to make soundly reasoned decisions quickly and effectively, and his judgement is excellent and his written advocacy is of a very high quality. He also relates well to lay clients and quickly wins their trust." - Legal 500 2022

  •  "A creative thinker, who works very hard to get the outcomes for clients and is very committed to the cases. His work is at the cutting edge of civil liberties and human rights." - Legal 500 2022

  • ‘"A great legal mind who puts a lot of time into his material and gets very good results." - Legal 500 2019 

  • "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

  • “… fights his client’s corner fearlessly.”  - Legal 500 2018

  • “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

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

  • Currently representing the family of Harry Dunn in a Judicial Review and human rights claim against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

  • Newby, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2019] EWHC 3118 (Admin) - acting for Phil Newby in a landmark challenge to the ban on assisted dying

  • Acting for a complainant in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party

  • Cuadrilla v Lawrie, Walsh and Wilson - currently acting in the Court of Appeal, led by Kirsty Brimelow QC, for anti-fracking protesters committed for contempt of court for protesting

  • R (on the application of Susan Wilson & Others) v The Prime Minister [2019] – Acting for the Claimant in a Brexit-related case 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

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 has acted in five major public inquiries:

  • Equality and Human Rights Investigation into Antisemitism in the Labour Party - (2019 to ongoing). Currently acting for the principal complainant, Campaign Against Antisemitism

  • 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.

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)

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).