Ida Aduwa is a senior associate solicitor who works with Martyn Day in the international department. She specialises in assisting on on claims involving digital surveillance by foreign states, multi-claimant action against government actors and multinational corporations.
Ida has developed a growing area of expertise in spyware and threats posed to civil society by digital and smart technology. Ida is currently representing Saudi, Bahraini and Rwandan dissidents in novel claims which look at the interface between State immunity and whether it applies when it comes to acts causing serious harm to individuals in the United Kingdom. Ida has a keen interest in representing claimants affected by Spyware and malicious software in the UK.
Since joining Leigh Day in 2017, after having completed her training contract at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, Ida has worked on a number of high-profile cases, including:
- Ghanem Al-Masarir: a claim on behalf of prominent human rights activist and satirist who has been heavily involved for many years in campaigning for political reform in Saudi Arabia launched a legal claim against the Saudi Government for the allege targeting and hacking of his mobile phone devices with spyware known as Pegasus, acquired from the NSO group. The alleged spyware enabled the Saudi government to modify, extract, and record all information stored on and communicated on his devices.
- Saeed Shehabi and Moosa Mohammed: a claim brought by Bahraini activists in the UK against the Kingdom of Bahrain for the alleged targeting and hacking of their electronic devices with Finspy, produced by the Gamma Group. The software can access documents, emails and messages, view web browsing history and conduct live surveillance through accessing the computer’s camera and microphone.
- Faustin Rukundo and Violette Uwamahoro: a claim brought by a husband and wife living in the UK against the Republic of Rwanda for the alleged targeting and hacking of Mr Rukundo’s mobile telephone device with spyware known as Pegasus, via the WhatsApp security breach hacking in April 2019.
- Rania Dridi v United Arab Emirates: a claim brought by a female journalist at Al Araby Tv Network against the United Arab Emirates for the alleged targeting and hacking of her mobile phone with Pegasus spyware, acquired from the NSO group in late 2020.
- Claims by Malawian citizens against tea companies: claims currently being undertaken on behalf of Malawian employees who accuse the tea companies of being negligent in their duty of care towards female employees, given the sexual abuse, harassment and discrimination suffered by the claimants during the course of their work on plantations.
- Josiya & Ors v British American Tobacco Plc & Ors: claims on behalf of tobacco farmers and their families who accuse British American Tobacco of unjust enrichment, namely that they made huge profits from the leaves that were picked by farmers who were effectively forced to work for very little pay under fear, duress and false pretences and were left with no option but to put their children to work on the farms too.
- Iraqi Civil Claims v MoD: claims on behalf of hundreds of Iraqi claimants alleging unlawful detention and mistreatment by British forces during the wars in Iraq.
Ida also represents a group of forty-one Tamil asylum seekers, including thirteen children currently detained on Diego Garcia by the British Indian Ocean Territory Administration. The claim relates to the alleged false imprisonment and personal injury including severe psychiatric injuries sustained during the group’s ongoing detention.
Ida works on novel interesting cases through the Courts at all stages from lower courts to the Court of Appeal, she works on cases with complexities including navigating state immunity points and likely enforcement as well as complex jurisdictional challenges including a case issued in the BIOT Supreme Court. As a result, Ida is now registered to Practice in the BIOT Supreme Court.
Ida was invited to speak at the UN Headquarters in New York by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights former mandate holder 2023 – on the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, using litigation as a deterrent/remedy.
Ida was identified as being a ‘rising star’ in an article naming Leigh Day as one of the 2021 Times Best Law Firms feature.
Prior to joining Leigh Day, Ida worked for Refugee and Migrant Justice, representing asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants in all stages of the asylum and immigration process. She also spent three years working in the Public Law and Human Rights team at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors specialising in public law, human rights, health and social care, and welfare cases in the Court of Protection.
News and blogs
High Court gives green light to a Pegasus spyware case being brought in London against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by a UK based dissident
The High Court has today ruled the KSA does not have immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978 in relation to a case brought against it by satirist and human rights activist Ghanem Al-Masarir for its alleged use of spyware to infiltrate his mobile phones.
Kingdom of Bahrain accused of using FinFisher spyware on UK-based dissidents
The High Court in London is due to hear a case brought by two Bahraini dissidents, who now live in the UK, against the Kingdom of Bahrain for the alleged use of FinFisher surveillance software known as FinSpy on their computers. The hearing will take place on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 February 2022.