Adam specialises in public law, human rights and general civil law, including clinical negligence, discrimination, and personal injury. He has been appointed to the Attorney General’s preferred panel of barristers and is ranked as a leading junior by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500. He is the founding editor of the acclaimed UK Human Rights Blog and has been nominated for the Orwell Prize for his legal writing.
Before joining Chambers, Adam graduated from St Anne’s College, Oxford with a first class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, and received an MA in Political Science from Columbia University. He also worked as the chair of a national youth organisation.
Public law and human rights
Adam is ranked as a leading junior by Chambers and Partners for civil liberties and human rights. According to the latest edition, "He really does pick up on everything, and he is a really nice man."
He was appointed to the Attorney General’s C Panel of preferred counsel in 2012 and acts regularly Judicial Review claims involving asylum, immigration, human rights, prisons and mental health law, on both sides.
He has extensive experience of unlawful detention claims, both from a civil law damages and human rights perspective. He is currently acting in a number of claims, including Sorinwa v SSHD (food and fluid refusal by immigration detainee), Zuk v Zuk (unlawful imprisonment for contempt) and Musazai v SSHD (detention of child in the mistaken belief he was an adult).
Adam successfully acted for the Legal Ombudsman in its first contested Judicial Review (Layard Horsfall Ltd v The Legal Ombudsman  EWHC 4137 (QB)). He is currently instructed in a human rights claim by the partner of a man who committed suicide whilst detained in a psychiatric institution, by a long-term high-profile prisoner denied adequate healthcare and a case involving a Muslim prisoner relating to drug testing on a religious fast day.
Adam has a particular interest in cases involving religion and law, and is assisting in the upcoming Supreme Court hearing involving the justiciability of a dispute over who is the “successor” of a Sikh holy leader (Khaira and others (Respondents) v. Shergill and others (Appellants))
Human Rights Commentary
Adam is well known for his commentary on human rights and public law. He writes regularly on legal issues for The New Statesman, The Times and The Guardian. He founded and edits the UK’s leading legal blog, the UK Human Rights Blog, and has been interviewed on numerous occasions on BBC radio and TV. He has a wide following on social media, particularly Twitter (@adamwagner1)
His focus is on improving public perception of human rights law, and he was asked to give evidence on this topic to the Leveson Inquiry (statement here) and the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on the Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill.
Adam regularly lectures on human rights and public law to a range of audiences, including the Government Legal Services annual human rights training (for the last three years), the Justice Human Rights conference and to a number of solicitors and non governmental organisations.
Adam has extensive experience in this area, having acted in three major public inquiries in the past four years:
• Baha Mousa Inquiry into the use of ‘stress’ and ‘conditioning’ techniques on detainees by the British military in Iraq
• Al-Sweady Inquiry into allegations of mistreatment and unlawful killing by the British military in Iraq (ongoing)
• Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Inquiry: acted for the Department of Health in this major investigation into systemic failings in the NHS.
He also gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on the Standard of Reporting of Human Rights Law.
Healthcare law and inquests
Adam is recommended as a 'leading junior' by The Legal 500 in clinical negligence and healthcare law. He acted for the Department of Health (led by Gerard Clarke and James Eadie QC) in the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry.
He regularly acts for claimants and defendants in high-value clinical negligence claims and on behalf of families and doctors at coroner’s inquests. Recent inquests include:
• Death of Robert Beal (death in prison by MDMA overdose);
• Death of Leonard Fitzer (death by head injury in hospital following fall);
• Death of William Atkinson (suicide in prison);
• Death of Jonathan Scott (death by cardiac arrest following admission to hospital).
General civil law
Adam is regularly instructed in a wide range of civil matters including commercial disputes and high-value personal injury claims. He is currently acting in a number of personal injury claims involving assaults on prisoners, including Belfield v MoJ (assault on high-profile murderer), Sahebzadeh v MoJ (stabbing of prisoner at Muslim prayer service) and Walters v MoJ (stabbing of prisoner whilst in shower).
Employment law and discrimination
Adam acts for both Claimants and Respondents in employment tribunals. He is currently acting for a professor in a dispute against a major university.
Adam is ranked in Chambers and Partners 2014 in the field of Civil Liberties and Human Rights and in the latest edition of Legal 500 for Clinical Negligence and Healthcare.
Bar Vocational Course (Very Competent),
BPP Inner Temple Major Scholarship
CPE Diploma in Law (Commendation), City University
Inner Temple Exhibition Scholarship
MA International Relations, Columbia University
MA (Oxon) Politics, Philosophy and Economics (First Class Hons.), St Anne College, Oxford University
Adam writes regularly on all aspects of human rights and public law on guardian.co.uk (read his articles here), the UK Human Rights Blog (articles here) and Legal Week (articles here)
Significant cases include the following
Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry
Inquest into the death of an 80 year old after an accidental overdose was administered.
Public Inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Baha Mousa
Al-Sweady Public Inquiry
Birch v University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 2237 (QB), consent, and the failure to advise of the relative merits of two alternative procedures.
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