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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 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 three 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 and was on the Attorney General’s preferred panel of barristers for five years.

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:

  • "Versatile junior who regularly appears in high-profile human rights cases, both for and against public authorities" Chambers and Partners 2018

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

  • "Knowledgeable, responsive and attentive to detail" Legal 500 2017

  • "A confident advocate with a hunger to win."

  • "Very thorough with excellent legal knowledge." Legal 500 2016

  • "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

  • 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.

  • 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 three major public inquiries:

  • 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.

He has acted in numerous coroners inquests, particularly relating to the provision of healthcare to prisoners and. For example, he recently acted in the inquest into the death of Anthony Coughtrey, who took his own life after being recalled to HMP Bedford, and the inquest into the death of Craig Royce at HMP Chelmsford. 

Immigration and Asylum

Adam has strong expertise in all aspects of immigration and asylum law. He regularly acts in the High Court and Upper Tribunal

For example, he has acted in cases involving the risk of ill treatment if a homosexual man is returned to Albania (Gjoka v SSHD), a refusal to grant leave on the basis of domestic violence (Gebru v SSHD).

He has also has successfully acted in numerous unlawful detention damages claims arising from periods in immigration detention, for example a false imprisonment claim by an Iraqi national, including twice resisting a strike out on res judicata grounds prior to settlement (Khazar v SSHD[2016]) and a false imprisonment claim arising following a period of imprisonment for sexual assault (Bah v SSHD).

Equality and Discrimination

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

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).