Admas Habteslasie

Call: 2014
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Practice Summary

Admas was called to the bar in 2014. His supervisors during pupillage were James Maurici QC, Dan Kolinsky QC, Guy Williams and Toby Watkin. Admas spent the 2015/16 judicial year as the judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, where he worked on permission to appeal applications and appeals across a wide range of areas. He took up tenancy in Chambers following his year as a judicial assistant.

Admas accepts instructions in all areas of Chambers’ work. He has appeared led and unled in the High Court, County Court, Magistrates’ Court (on rating and planning matters) and in planning inquiries.

Prior to converting to law, Admas graduated from the University of Warwick. He carried out postgraduate law studies as a Thouron Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he graduated joint 1st in his year. Prior to joining Landmark, Admas carried out public international law research for the Legal Adviser to the UN Special Envoy to Syria and worked as a caseworker for the UN Refugee Agency in Jordan. He speaks fluent Arabic.

Admas is a member of ILA, HRLA, ALBA, ILPA, UKELA and CHBA.

View Admas’s profile on our International site

Public Law / EU Law / Human Rights

Admas has a broad public law practice. He has acted for claimants, defendants and interested parties in proceedings in the Court of Appeal, Administrative Court, Upper Tribunal and First-tier Tribunal.

Admas’ recent public law experience includes:

  • R (Horeau and others) v Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs: acting (with Toby Fisher and Ben Emmerson QC) for Chagos Islanders expelled to the Seychelles in the 1960s and 70s in a challenge to the UK government’s recent decision to refuse to allow resettlement of the Chagos Islands
  • British Institute of Technology and E-commerce v Secretary of State for the Home Department: acting (as a junior to Richard Drabble QC) in a challenge to a sponsor licence revocation
  • Shah v Secretary of State for the Home Department: acting (as junior to Samantha Broadfoot QC) in a judicial review challenge to an entry clearance refusal raising issues relating to Article 8 and under the Equality Act 2010
  • R (Knappett) v West Sussex County Council: acting (as sole counsel) for a local planning authority in relation to a judicial review challenge on environmental grounds (EIA) of the grant of permission for a wastewater treatment plant
  • advising the Department of Health on relevant treaty law/Brexit arrangements in relation to reciprocal healthcare
  • acting for claimants in unlawful detention claims (both in the Administrative Court and the County Court); and for a claimant in a complex immigration JR raising issues under the Data Protection Act and in relation to whether a decision had been adequately notified
  • acting for an EEA national challenging a deportation decision on EEA and Art. 8 grounds
  • acting for appellants challenging denials of Personal Independent Payment and housing in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals
  • assisting a QC on a judicial review challenging the retroactive imposition of liability for business rates on the basis of Article 1 Protocol 1 of the ECHR

Admas also has experience of:

  • acting for claimants challenging a wide range of immigration and asylum decisions in judicial review proceedings, including an individual challenging the cancellation of leave as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur in the Court of Appeal and the designation of a country on the safe countries list
  • advising central government departments and other public authorities on prospects of success of appeals to the Court of Appeal, and drafting Statements of Reasons in relation to applications for orders disposing of appeals by consent
  • acting for applicants in urgent applications for interim injunctions in the High Court, including in applications raising fresh claims challenges and challenges under the Immigration (EEA) Regulations
  • advising claimants and public authorities on a wide range of public law issues including: procurement challenges under the Directives/Regulations and on a private law basis; immigration and asylum issues including unlawful detention claims on Hardial Singh grounds and removals on the basis of Dublin III; claims against local authorities under the Care Act 2014 and against clinical commissioning groups in relation to Continuing Health Care assessments.

Admas is the co-author of the chapter on judicial review procedure in Judicial Review (Supperstone, Goudie and Walker) and has a particular interest in the overlap of public international law principles and ECHR/public law rights, and has published a number of articles relating to this subject (see publications).

As a judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger, Admas worked on the following appeals, in many cases producing substantial research to assist Lord Neuberger and the other Justices of the Supreme Court:

  • Belhaj and another v Straw and others: scope and application of the doctrine of Foreign Act of State
  • Serdar Mohamed v Secretary of State for Defence: an appeal relating to the legal basis for detention powers in non-international armed conflicts and the scope and application of the doctrine of Crown Act of State
  • Youssef v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2016] UKSC 3: a challenge to the United Kingdom’s decision to allow the appellant’s name to be added to the United Nations Security Council’s list of people subject to asset freezing
  • R (The Public Law Project) v Lord Chancellor [2016] UKSC 39: a challenge to the lawfulness of the proposed civil legal aid residence test
  • McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28: a claim by the tenant to a private landlord that the grant of a possession order infringed her rights under Article 8 of the ECHR
  • R (Roberts) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2015] UKSC 79: a challenge to the suspicionless stop and search powers contained in section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 on human rights grounds
  • MA v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: a challenge to the bedroom tax
  • Taiwo v Olaigbe [2016] UKSC 31: a discrimination claim brought on the basis that the mistreatment of the claimants because of their position as vulnerable migrant domestic workers constituted either direct or indirect race/nationality discrimination
  • Hesham Ali (Iraq) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: whether provisions of the immigration rules setting out the weight to be given to the public interest in the deportation of foreign national offenders were compatible with Article 8 of the ECHR
  • R (on the application of O) v Secretary of State for the Home Department) UKSC[2016] UKSC 19: a challenge to the Secretary of State’s policy on the detention of individuals suffering from serious mental illness
  • R (Nouazli) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 16: a challenge to an EU law power to detain prior to a deportation decision on the basis that it constituted discrimination against EEA nationals and their family members without lawful justification.

International Law

Admas has a particular interest in public international law issues, whether arising in the context of domestic litigation or in the context of disputes governed by international law.

Admas’ experience of public international law practice includes:

  • Advising a London-based NGO on public international law issues arising out a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
  • Advising Transparency International on the design and implementation of anti-corruption measures
  • As a caseworker for the UN Refugee Agency focusing on exclusion issues, carrying out determinations of whether applicants were excluded from protection on the basis of involvement in war crimes or crimes against humanity
  • As a legal assistant to the Legal Adviser to a state party to an inter-state post-war claims arbitration, carrying out legal research, assisting with the production of sworn declarations by witnesses and drafting sections of the state party’s memorials
  • Carrying out legal research into developing areas of public international law and international human rights law pertaining to the conflict in Syria (with a focus on the powers of the UN Security Council) for the Legal Adviser to the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and Arab League to Syria
  • Advising non-governmental organisations in Haiti on the procedure and principles underpinning the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process (as an assistant to Professor Paoletti of University of Pennsylvania Law School).

Admas also worked on public international law issues in the context of domestic appellate litigation as a judicial assistant at the Supreme Court, in particular in the following appeals:

  • Serdar Mohamed v Ministry of Defence: legal basis for detention powers in non-international armed conflicts
  • Youssef v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2016] UKSC 3: a challenge to the United Kingdom’s decision to allow the appellant’s name to be added to the United Nations Security Council’s list of people subject to asset freezing asset-freezing
  • Ministry of Defence v Iraqi Civilians [2016] UKSC 25: a claim concerning the application of conflict of laws principles on the determination of the correct limitation period to claims applying Iraqi law.

Admas has published a number of articles on the interplay between public international law principles and the development of ECHR jurisprudence domestically and in the ECtHR (see articles). As an LLM student at the University of Pennsylvania, Admas graduated with the joint highest Distinction in his year, carried out research on public international law for a number of professors, and was awarded a discretionary A+ in his public international law examination.

Admas takes a particular interest in international law issues relating to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. Admas speaks fluent Arabic and has experience of working with Arabic-language documents (including legal documents) in Arabic and conducting in-depth, substantive interviews in Arabic.

Planning and Environment

Admas’ recent planning work includes:

  • appearing (as junior to Tim Corner QC) for Magdalen College, Oxford at an appeal inquiry in relation to a proposed student residential development in Oxford raising issues of heritage impact;
  • appearing (as junior to Richard Turney) for the developer at an inquiry appealing the refusal of permission for a proposed residential development in Kent; the appeal raised issues relating to the assessment of sustainability for a residential development outside a settlement boundary, and the weight to be attached to out-of-date housing supply policies
  • appearing at a local plan inquiry for Friends of the Earth
  • appearing for the appellant at a two-day enforcement inquiry raising issues of abandonment of residential use, 5-year housing supply, and the principle of development in an AONB
  • appearing for the planning authority in a two-day enforcement inquiry raising issues of the principle of development in an AONB and the meaning of a ‘building’ for the purposes of s.171B of the TCPA
  • acting for the developer in a 3-day trial in the Magistrates’ Court on a challenge to a section 215 notice on both statutory and public law grounds
  • appearing for a planning authority in a judicial review challenge on EIA grounds to the grant of permission for expansion of a waste-water treatment plant
  • acting for an interested party resisting a residential development on a school playing field in judicial review proceedings.

Admas also has experience of advising on a wide range of planning matters, including: contaminated land; highways issues (seeking stopping up orders under the Highways Act and the TCPA), Green Belt and AONB policy, air quality issues under the Habitats Directive, the Community Infrastructure Levy, compulsory purchase, listed buildings and conservation areas (including prosecution for listed building offences), lawful use certificates, non-material amendments to planning permissions, applications to amend conditions, and planning obligations.

Admas takes a particular interest in environmental law, whether arising in the context of planning disputes or otherwise, and has experience of advising and drafting statements of case in relation to challenges to environmental permits granted under the 2010 Regulations. 

As a pupil to Guy WilliamsDan Kolinsky QC and James Maurici QC, Admas gained exposure to a wide range of planning and environmental law matters including advisory, inquiry and High Court work, including:

  • assisting James Maurici QC in advising on airport runway expansion
  • Stoke Poges Parish Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2016] EWHC 1772 (Admin): a challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to allow an appeal against the local planning authority’s refusal of a prior approval (as a pupil to Guy Williams)
  • Broadview Energy Developments v Secretary of State [2015] EWHC 1743 (Admin): an apparent bias challenge based on contact between a local MP and a minister in parliament (as a pupil to Dan Kolinsky QC).

Rating and Valuation

Admas has a particular interest in rating. As a pupil to Dan Kolinsky QC, Admas assisted on appeals in the Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal and in the Supreme Court (Woolway (VO) v Mazars).

Examples of Admas’ recent rating work include:

  • Advising and appearing in the Magistrates’ Court for ratepayers seeking to challenge the imposition of liability orders on a variety of grounds
  • Drafting statements of case in challenges to retrospective imposition of business rates liability following Woolway (VO) v Mazars;
  • Advising on a range of rating issues, including: exemptions from unoccupied rates; state aid issues; transitional relief; valuation tribunal practice and procedure; the VOA’s powers and duties; and a wide range of business rates liability issues relating to the occupation of office buildings.

Property

Admas has recently appeared in:

  • residential and commercial possession hearings and trials in the County Courts, including cases raising issues of: the validity of notice given under the 1954 Act; trust and probate disputes; loss of secure tenancy under the Housing Act 1985; and disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010
  • charging order applications in the Commercial Court
  • an application by a tenant to set aside a statutory demand for liabilities arising under a commercial lease.

Admas has experience of working on a range of property law issues, including:

  • Business leases: the termination of leases and compensation under section 30(1)(f) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (drafting advice and statement of case); dilapidations (drafting advice on a claim’s prospect of success); a dispute relating to the management of a large mixed-use development raising complex issues around the application of the Equality Act (statement of case);
  • A professional negligence claim in respect of a property transaction (drafting advice and statement of case);
  • Residential lease disputes raising issues around the interpretation and rectification of deeds, land registration, adverse possession (drafting Advices)
  • Advising on the construction of conveyance documents (both Law Society’s standard conditions and drafted contracts), including advice on contested insurance liability and notices to complete
  • Advising on the prospects of a misrepresentation claim in the context of a property bought at an auction.

As a judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger, Admas worked on a number of property-related appeals:

  • Edwards v Kumarasamy [2016] UKSC 40: a disrepair case concerning the application of section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 as between a tenant and subtenant, and the question of when a landlord is liable under a repair covenant despite not having had notice of the disrepair
  • Lynn Shellfish v Loose and another: a case concerning a dispute as to the boundaries of a fishing right acquired by prescription
  • Marks & Spencer v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company: construction of a commercial lease, implication of terms
  • McDonald v McDonald: an appeal concerning the question of whether Article 8 of the ECHR applied in the context of possession claims in relation to tenancies granted by private landlords
  • Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs v Investment Trust Companies (In Liquidation) and othersBank of Cyprus v Menelaou [2015] UKSC 66: claims in unjust enrichment.

Qualifications

  • University of Warwick: BA Film and Literature (2003)
  • University of the Arts London: MA Documentary Photography (Distinction, 1st in year, 2005)
  • Kaplan Law School: GDL (Commendation, 2009)
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School: LLM (Distinction, Award for Excellence (joint 1st in year), 2012)
  • City Law School: BPTC (Very Competent, 2014)

Scholarships and Awards

  • Horace Avory Scholarship, Exhibition and Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship (Inner Temple, 2012)
  • Thouron Scholarship (2011)
  • Full GDL scholarship (Kaplan Law School, 2008)

Articles

March 2017
Detention in times of war: Article 5, UN Security Council Resolutions and the Supreme Court decision in Serdar Mohammed v Ministry of Defence | European Human Rights Law Review 2017, Issue 2

February 2017
Derogation in Time of War: The Application of Article 15 of the ECHR in Extraterritorial Armed Conflicts | Judicial Review 2016, Issue 4

January 2017
Room for improvement (commentary on Supreme Court decision in R (Carmichael and Rourke) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKSC 58, the ‘bedroom tax’ appeal) | New Law Journal, Issue 7731

Inquiries

Oxford student accommodation appeal dismissed on heritage grounds

04/12/2017

The Inspector has dismissed an appeal by McLaren and Merton College, Oxford against Oxford City Council’s refusal of planning permission for student accommodation at Manor Place, Oxford. The Inspector concluded that the scheme’s impact on heritage assets, including Magdalen College Grove (Deer Park) would not be outweighed by its public benefits.

Timothy Corner QC and Admas Habteslasie appeared for Magdalen College and the Oxford Preservation Trust.

Reuben Taylor QC and Andrew Byass acted for the Appellants. Please click here for the decision.

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Inquiries

Oxford student accommodation appeal dismissed on heritage grounds

04/12/2017

The Inspector has dismissed an appeal by McLaren and Merton College, Oxford against Oxford City Council’s refusal of planning permission for student accommodation at Manor Place, Oxford. The Inspector concluded that the scheme’s impact on heritage assets, including Magdalen College Grove (Deer Park) would not be outweighed by its public benefits.

Timothy Corner QC and Admas Habteslasie appeared for Magdalen College and the Oxford Preservation Trust.

Reuben Taylor QC and Andrew Byass acted for the Appellants. Please click here for the decision.

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