Landmark Chambers International

Admas Habteslasie

Year of call: 2014

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Practice Summary

Admas was called to the Bar in 2014. He practises at the overlap of public, international and property-related areas of law. His practice focuses in particular on the interaction of public law and disputes in relation to land/infrastructure projects, both in a domestic and international context. 

Prior to commencing practice at the Bar, Admas undertook postgraduate studies (LLM) at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and worked as a caseworker for the UN Refugee Agency in the Middle East. As an LLM student, 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. Immediately prior to joining Landmark Chambers, Admas spent a year as a judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger, President of the UK Supreme Court. 

Admas takes a particular interest in disputes relating to the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. He speaks fluent Arabic and has extensive experience of working with Arabic-language documents in Arabic and conducting in-depth, substantive interviews in Arabic. 

Domestic public law / human rights / public international law 

Admas’ experience in domestic public law, human rights and public international law 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 international and regional anti-corruption agreements and 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
  • 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
  • acting for Chagos Islanders expelled to the Seychelles in the 1960s and 70s in a challenge to the UK government’s decision to refuse to allow resettlement of the Chagos Islands raising issues under public international law and the European Convention on Human Rights
  • advising the Department of Health on Brexit arrangements and international treaty law in relation to reciprocal healthcare
  • acting for individuals challenging their deportation on the basis of the ECHR and EU law
  • challenging government decisions in the field of education, social security, immigration and tax on domestic public law, including human rights, grounds. 

As a judicial assistant to Lord Neuberger, President of the UK Supreme Court, Admas worked on domestic and public international law issues in the context of appellate litigation, in particular in relation to the following cases: 

  • 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
  • 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
  • Belhaj and another v Straw and others: scope and application of the doctrine of Foreign Act of State in relation to a civil claim alleging intentional wrongs committed by foreign states
  • 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 relevant of UN Security Council resolutions to human rights protections. 

Admas has contributed to and authored a number of texts relevant to his areas of interest, including:

  • co-author of the chapter on judicial review procedure in Judicial Review (Supperstone, Goudie and Walker).
  • author of article, Derogation in Time of War: The Application of Article 15 of the ECHR in Extraterritorial Armed Conflicts, published in Judicial Review 2016, Issue 4 (February 2017)
  • author of article, Detention in times of war: Article 5, UN Security Council Resolutions and the Supreme Court decision in Serdar Mohammed v Ministry of Defence, published in the European Human Rights Law Review 2017, Issue 2 (March 2017). 

Disputes relating to infrastructure, development and land 

Admas’ experience spans a range of areas of law touching on disputes relating to infrastructure, development and land, particularly where there is an overlap with public/international law issues: 

  • assisting the legal adviser to an African state party in an arbitration relating to the delimitation and demarcation of an international border;
  • appearing in the High Court and at domestic planning inquiries for public authorities, objectors and developers in relation to large-scale development projects, including in relation to the exercise of compulsory purchase powers
  • Advising on a range of contractual and property issues arising out of commercial landlord and tenant disputes, including: advising on the prospects of a misrepresentation claim in the context of a property bought at an auction; advising on a commercial dispute arising out of contested insurance liability in a commercial lease
  • assisting the Justices in relation to the case of Lynn Shellfish v Loose and another, a case concerning a dispute as to the boundaries of a fishing right acquired by prescription (as a judicial assistant)
  • advising NGOs (and appearing in inquiries) in relation to regulation of hydraulic fracturing projects, with a focus on environmental law issues in particular
  • advising on and appearing for clients in challenges to tax determinations (in particular, business rates, a tax on business properties) raising issues of human rights (Article 1 Protocol 1 to the ECHR) and EU law
  • assisting James Maurici QC in advising on airport expansion in the south-east of England
  • assisting the Justices in relation to the case of McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28, an appeal raising the issue of the application of the human right to privacy and a home in the context of a landlord’s right to retake possession of a property under a private law contract (as a judicial assistant). 

Qualifications 

  • University of Warwick: BA Film and Literature (2003)
  • University of the Arts London: MA Documentary Photography (Distinction, 1st in year, 2005)
  • University of Pennsylvania Law School: LLM (Distinction, Award for Excellence (Distinction, joint 1st in year, 2012)
  • Professional studies: Graduate Diploma in Law, 2009 (Kaplan Law School) and Bar Professional Training Course, 2014 (City Law School) 

Scholarships and Awards 

  • Horace Avory Scholarship, Exhibition and Duke of Edinburgh Scholarship to fund Bar studies (Inner Temple, 2012)
  • Thouron Scholarship to study at the University of Pennsylvania (2011); LLM Award for Excellence for joint highest Distinction in the graduating class of 2012
  • Full GDL scholarship (Kaplan Law School, 2008)