Paul Epstein QC

Year of Silk/Call: 2006/1988


Commercial Law | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Human Rights | Regulatory | Sport and Entertainment


Acted for Jimmy Savile whistleblower in 2017 who sued the BBC for £1m. Shortlisted for employment law silk of the year 2016 and 2015 Chambers and Partners


Recognised as a leading employment and discrimination law specialist by his clients, his peers, the law directories and training organisations. His clients appreciate his willingness to work as part of a team, his persuasiveness, clarity, forensic skills, his pragmatism and commercial acumen.

Employment, discrimination and human rights: Paul has for many years been recognised as a leading employment and discrimination law specialist by his clients, his peers, the law directories and training organisations.

In his advisory work Paul combines an analytical approach with pragmatism and commercial acumen. Clients appreciate his willingness to work as part of a team, and his persuasiveness, clarity and forensic skills in courts and tribunals.

He has worked for top 10 UK law firms, trade unions, public bodies, the EHRC and in-house counsel of financial and other institutions, as well as globally known rock and pop legends.

Paul has recent experience in many sectors - media, financial, insurance, banking, healthcare, local authority, charitable, legal, hospitality, sporting and education to name but a few.

His work in the past few years in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, and the employment tribunal has been in some of Europe's largest ever equal pay cases, including for Birmingham City Council and for Asda; in the unfair dismissal litigation known as "Trojan horse"; and in some of the UK's leading discrimination cases, including advising in Lokhova v Sberbank: link to BBC article.

Clients have recently instructed Paul to help resolve problems involving direct and indirect discrimination, contract disputes, restrictive covenants, the national minimum wage, corporate structures, the working time regulations, whistleblowing, and collective redundancies.

Paul was leading counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's investigation into the Metropolitan Police Service. The EHRC's report of its investigation was published on 8 September 2016: link to EHRC report

Commercial: Paul's work includes partnership, professional negligence and general contractual disputes, including LCIA and ad hoc arbitrations. In 2017 he acted for a Jimmy Savile whistleblower who sued the BBC for £1m: In 2010 he appeared in the Qatar Financial Centre Civil and Commercial Court, Doha, in insolvency proceedings, on behalf of the former chief executive of a bank.

Public and Regulatory: Paul has presented disciplinary charges in conduct committee hearings on behalf of the British Psychological Society, including in its case against Colin Stagg arising out of the murder of Rachel Nickell; has been a sometime legal advisor to the General Teaching Council; and has advised in various professional disciplinary matters.

Information Law: Paul has advised individuals and public bodies on disclosure obligations under legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Other work: He has acted for Puff Daddy in a passing off action over his use of the name “Diddy”; and for the Independent Newspaper, its editor and the journalist in a defamation claim brought against them by Lord Ashcroft. Paul is also instructed as counsel for parties in mediations.

Mediation: Since training as a mediator in 2012 Paul has successfully mediated a number of contract/employment disputes, using facilitative mediation. His approach is realistic and courteous.


BA Oxon, First in History and Modern Languages, exhibition to Balliol College; City University Diploma in Law, distinction; Middle Temple Harmsworth scholarship.


Chambers and Partners:

"A skilful advocate and tactician," who is "very can-do and innovative." "An assured and authoritative silk who is a real team player" (2016);

“Frequently instructed in heavyweight discrimination claims" and "brilliant on his feet" (2012);

“understated and elegant style is combined with an edge of steel. He excels at handling clients and his persuasive skills ensure he always gets great results” (2011);

“impresses clients and peers with his excellent cross-examination skills”, “a purveyor of pragmatic and commercial advice”, "a man who has come a long way in a short time due to his manifest skills" (2010);

“astute, authoritative advocate and an excellent client handler who communicates complex problems in a format that is easy to understand,” “particularly recommended for his expertise in hedge fund bonus disputes” (2009);

“a shrewd cross-examiner who explains issues well to clients,” “commercially savvy” (2008);

“good on his feet” and “in-house clients love him” as he “goes into detail without ever losing the commercial touch” (2007).

Legal 500:

"He has a strong command of his practice area, and a good tactical brain" (2016);

"A formidable opponent" (2012);

“Paul Epstein QC is commercially aware and very hardworking” (2011);

''Paul Epstein QC is a superb advocate, with client skills to match” (2010);

“an excellent appellate advocate, with superb drafting” (2009);

“New silk Paul Epstein QC is an excellent client handler and a very good advocate” (2007);

“an excellent client handler and calm in a crisis” (2006).

One of the ten "most highly regarded" employment silks, (Who's Who Legal 2017)

Appointments and memberships

2015 Appointed to A panel of Equality and Human Rights Commission

2012, 2014 and 2016 elected Employment Lawyers Association management committee member

2012 Bencher of Middle Temple

2012 Qualified Mediator

2009-2011 Chair of the Employment Law Bar Association

Member of the Industrial Law Society and the Administrative Law Bar Association

Publications and training

Contributed to publications including Tolley's Working Time, Bullen & Leake & Jacob's Precedents of Pleading (2001), Butterworths Employment Law Guide (2000), IRS EclipseCompetencies (2001).

Paul is sought after as an expert speaker, and has given many talks over the years, including to EU judges on discrimination at the EU legal academy in Trier, Germany; in France; in the Netherlands; and for many firms and organisations; and he has been an expert commentator on TV, radio and in the press.

Paul helps advocates hone their skills by teaching advocacy training for Middle Temple and also the Employment Law Bar Association, and he is a mentor for the Bar Council's Bar in the Community Mentoring Scheme.

Highlight cases

Abdulla v. Birmingham City Council [2012] UKSC 47 (Supreme Court); [2012] ICR 20, [2012] IRLR 116, [2011] EWCA Civ 1412 (CA); [2011] IRLR 309, [2010] EWHC 3303 (QB)(HC), and Ashby v Birmingham City Council [2012] ICR 1, [2011] IRLR 473, [2011] 4 All ER 182, [2011] EWHC 424 (QB) (HC); jurisdiction of the courts to entertain equal pay claims

Cordell v Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2012] ICR 280, [2011] EAT/0016/11 (EAT); funded by EHRC, direct disability discrimination, reasonable adjustments, cost of adjustments

Lord Ashcroft v Foley and Ors [2012] EWCA Civ 423; [2011] EMLR 30 (HC); defamation claim brought by Lord Ashcroft against owner of Independent newspaper, editor and journalist over Turks and Caicos articles

Joseph v Spiller [2010] ICR 642, [2010] EMLR 7, [2009] EWCA Civ 1075 (CA); defamation case also raising employment agency arguments (in the Supreme Court now the leading case on honest comment)

Re Al Mal Bank LLC, and Nazim Omara August 2010; case in the Qatar Financial Centre Civil and Commercial Court; concerning liquidation of bank (related judgment, No. 04/10, viewable at

Amnesty International v Ahmed [2009] ICR 1450, [2009] IRLR 884, [2009] EAT/0447/08(EAT); leading case on direct discrimination

Arnold v Sandwell MBC [2009] ICR 1011, [2009] IRLR 452, [2009] EWCA Civ 309 (CA); [2009] ICR 281, [2009] IRLR 12, [2008] EAT/0332/08 (EAT); s32 grievances in EqPA claims

Spencer v SOS Work and Pensions [2009] QB 358, [2009] 2 WLR 593, [2008] ICR 1359, [2008] IRLR 911, [2008] EWCA Civ 750 (CA); leading case on applicable time limits for bringing Francovich claims

R (McCarthy) v Basildon DC [2009] EWCA Civ 13, [2009] BGLR 1013, (2009) 4 EG 117 (CS),[2009] EWCA Civ 13 (CA); [2008] EWHC 987 (Admin), [2008] All ER (D) 118, (2008) 19 EG 205 (CS), [2008] EWHC 9897 (Admin) (HC); action by Council to evict Irish Travellers from Dale Farm in Essex

Dow (Nos. 1 & 2) v. Cumbria [2008] IRLR 91, 109, No. 1 [2007] EAT/0148/06 (EAT), No. 2 [2007] EAT/0148/06 (EAT); equal pay

Copland v UK (App No. 62617/00), [2007] All ER (D) 32; European Court of Human Rights case on whether covert surveillance by employer breached EConv

Dearlove v. Combs [2007] EWHC 375 (Ch), [2008] EMLR 2, [2007] All E.R. (D) 367; passing off claim, acting for Puff Daddy

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein v. Adebayo [2005] IRLR 514, [2005] EAT/0569/04 (EAT) race discrimination claim by derivatives trader, drawing of inferences

Saggar v. Ministry of Defence [2005] ICR 1073, [2005] IRLR 618, [2005] EWCA Civ 413(CA); [2004] ICR 1708, [2004] EAT/0385/01 (EAT); territorial scope of pre Equality Act 2010 discrimination statutes

Walton v Independent Living Organisation [2003] ICR 608, [2003] IRLR 469 (CA); minimum wage, working time

Triesman v Ali [2002] ICR 1026, [2002] IRLR 489 (CA); Labour Party, local elections, race discrimination, suspension

Dickinson v Rushmer [2002] 1 Costs LR 128 (HC); costs, privilege

Edmonds v Lawson [2000] QB 501, [2002] 2 WLR 1091 (CA); apprenticeships, barristers, minimum wage, pupillage