Paul Epstein QC

Year of Silk/Call: 2006/1988

PRACTICE AREAS

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

HIGHLIGHTS

Paul is instructed by Tesco in multi-party equal pay claims. He was lead counsel to the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into pay at the BBC following revelations Carrie Gracie, BBC China editor, was paid less than two male international editors. He was also lead counsel to the EHRC investigation into whether the Metropolitan Police discriminated in its complaints handling processes.  He was instructed by Birmingham City Council in relation to unfair dismissal claims by four teaching assistants at Adderley Primary School, the subject of a 2022 podcast by Serial (called The Trojan Horse Affair).

"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 comes highly recommended for his wealth of experience in advising on equal opportunities. He is highly regarded for his defence of the Jimmy Savile whistle-blower." Who's Who Legal 2022

OVERVIEW

Paul Epstein QC is a leading employment and discrimination law specialist who has appeared in some of the largest and most complex claims.

Clients appreciate his willingness to work as part of a team and his commercial acumen.

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 including retail, media, TV, financial services, insurance, automotive, healthcare, local authority, charitable, legal, hospitality, sporting and education.

He is experienced in employment generally as well as in discrimination and #MeToo matters.

Paul is go-to counsel on equal pay issues and has recently been instructed by Tesco, Asda, Birmingham City Council, the EHRC, banks, retailers and telcoms companies.

During lockdown Paul represented clients in disability and whistleblowing claims.

Legal Professional Privilege: Paul has a sub-specialty in legal professional privilege. In many cases he is brought in to advise or appear alongside the currently instructed legal team.

Public Authority: Paul has a practice in advising on public authority matters including governance and statutory duties.

Commercial: Paul's work includes partnership, professional negligence and general contractual disputes, including LCIA and ad hoc arbitrations. In 2017 he acted for aJimmy Savile whistleblower who sued the BBC for £1m. He has 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 and as a legal advisor in internal disciplinary cases.

Mediation: Paul has practised as a mediator for over ten years. He has successfully mediated numerous contract and employment disputes. He uses facilitative mediation. His approach is courteous and realistic .

QUALIFICATIONS

Oxford University, Balliol College, History and Modern Languages, First

City University Diploma in Law, Distinction

REFERENCES

Who's Who Legal 2022 "Paul Epstein QC comes highly recommended for his wealth of experience in advising on equal opportunities. He is highly regarded for his defence of the Jimmy Savile whistle-blower."

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."

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

Chair of Middle Temple Diveristy and Inclusion Committee

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 is an advocacy trainer for Middle Temple.

HIGHLIGHT CASES

• Instructed by Tesco in defending multi-party equal pay claims.

K & Ors v Tesco [2021] ICR 1524, Case C-624/19. Last case referred by UK to European Court of Justice before Brexit. CJEU decided that art.157 has direct effect in an equal value claim.

• Instructed by Asda in defending multi-party equal pay claims

Kinlay v Brontë Film & Television Ltd , July 2021. Decision not to cast actor in next series of JK Rowling production for BBC because she was pregnant was unlawful discrimination. Landmark case on discrimination and pregnant actors.

• Counsel to Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into pay of women at the BBC

• Counsel to Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into discrimination by the Metropolitan Police in its handling of complaints

Aarons v Secretary of State for Home Department, Paul acted for seven police staff associations in relation to claims by 15,000 officers that government discriminated on age grounds in introducing new police pensions.

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)

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

AWARDS

Exhibition to Balliol College

Middle Temple Harmsworth scholarship