Paul Epstein QC

Year of Silk/Call: 2006/1988

PRACTICE AREAS

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

HIGHLIGHTS

Acted for Jimmy Savile whistleblower suing the BBC for £1m. Instructed in two significant equal pay cases by Tesco and by Asda. Instructed to advise the telegraph in resisting privacy injunction application by Sir Philip Green in the high court. Instructed by the EHRC as leading counsel in investigations into discrimination in the Metropolitan Police Service and pay discrimination issues at the BBC.

Overview

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: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3074223/jimmy-savile-whistleblower-sues-the-bbc-for-1m-after-corporation-betrayed-her/. 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.

Awards

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

References

• Chambers and Partners 2019: "A masterly silk who is tactically astute and exceptionally thorough." "Very approachable and knowledgeable. He is particularly skilled in advocacy and negotiation, and he has very good drafting skills."

• Legal 500 2019: “A friendly, knowledgeable and approachable advocate.”

• Chambers and Partners 2018: “A masterly silk, who brings together the qualities one needs for important cases. He is deft in providing difficult advice, tactically astute, exceptionally thorough, and he has a wide ranging legal expertise. He is great to work with for both solicitors and clients.”

• Chambers and Partners 2017: “He is a very good strategist; he combines amazing knowledge of the law with a very commercial and strategic approach to litigation… He is an assured and authoritative silk who is a real team player and is popular with instructing solicitors and clients.”

• Legal 500 2017: “A genius and a devastatingly articulate advocate who knows just how to make his points to maximal effect.”

• Who's Who Legal 2017: One of the ten "most highly regarded" employment silks

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

• Legal 500 2016: "He has a strong command of his practice area, and a good tactical brain"

• Chambers and Partners 2012: “Frequently instructed in heavyweight discrimination claims" and "brilliant on his feet"

• Legal 500 2012: "A formidable opponent"


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

• Farmah v Birmingham City Council [2017] IRLR 785, ICR 921, EAT
Whether multiple claimants can be included on a single claim form.

• AB v Ministry of Justice [2014] EWHC 1847 (QB), [2014] All ER (D) 14 (Jul)
Leading authority on level of compensation for distress for breach of data protection legislation.

• 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 http://www.qfccourt.com/Judgement.php)

• 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