Paul Epstein QC

Year of Silk/Call: 2006/1988


Arbitration & Mediation | Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning | Commercial Law | Discrimination & Equality | Employment | Human Rights | Professional Discipline | Public & Administrative Law | Sport & Entertainment


Acted for Jimmy Savile whistleblower suing the BBC for £1m. Instructed in two significant equal pay cases by Tesco and by Asda. Instructed by the Telegraph to advise in relation to Sir Philip Green’s application for an injunction against it. Instructed by the EHRC as leading counsel in investigations into discrimination in the Metropolitan Police Service and pay discrimination issues at the BBC.

"Paul Epstein is extremely authoritative. He is pragmatic, he is approachable and he inspires a great deal of confidence." "He is an outstanding advocate who gives very clear and commercially focused advice, and he is very down to earth and practical." Chambers & Partners 2022

"Super-bright, very calm in a crisis, client friendly, and excellent at providing good strategic advice. Very happy to chat around issues and arguments – an excellent team player." Legal 500 2022


Paul Epstein QC is recognised as a leading employment and discrimination law specialist by his clients, peers, legal 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.

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.

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

City University Diploma in Law, Distinction


Chambers & Partners 2022:"Paul Epstein is extremely authoritative. He is pragmatic, he is approachable and he inspires a great deal of confidence." "He is an outstanding advocate who gives very clear and commercially focused advice, and he is very down to earth and practical."

Legal 500 2022: "Super-bright, very calm in a crisis, client friendly, and excellent at providing good strategic advice. Very happy to chat around issues and arguments – an excellent team player."

Chambers & Partners 2021: "He's incredibly effective and an amazing communicator." "He's super to work with, very responsive and among the top equal pay barristers in the country."

Legal 500 2021: “A fantastic QC for complex matters and a brilliant strategist.”

Chambers & Partners 2020: "He is deft in providing advice on difficult issues; he is tactically astute, exceptionally thorough and has wide-ranging legal expertise." "A very knowledgeable and high-quality silk who is also easy to work with."

Legal 500 2020: "A masterly silk; deft in providing difficult advice, tactically astute and exceptionally thorough."

Chambers & Partners 2019: "A talented advocate who handles high-profile employment cases at all levels of the judicial system. He has a reputation for working on discrimination issues but is also proficient in matters concerning equal pay and whistle-blowing." "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 & 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 & 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."

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

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

Legal 500 2012: "A formidable opponent."


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


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.


• 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

• 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


Exhibition to Balliol College

Middle Temple Harmsworth scholarship