Paul Epstein QC > Cloisters Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Cloisters Chambers

Living Wage

Paul Epstein photo


Paul is an employment and discrimination law specialist. He has appeared in many high-profile cases. He appeared in Abdulla v Birmingham CC in the Supreme Court [2013] IRLR 38, a case on jurisdiction of the courts over equal pay claims. He has particular expertise in equal pay work. He continues to appear in litigation involving Birmingham CC. In 2009 he appeared in Amnesty International v Ahmed [2009] IRLR 8847, a leading case on direct discrimination. He also appeared in the defamation case of Joseph v Spiller [2010] 3 WLR 1719, dealing with the employment issues (the case was heard by the Supreme Court on fair comment). As well as continuing to act for unions he also regularly acts for employees and employers in City cases, which concern bonus negotiations, team moves, whistleblowing, discrimination, restrictive covenants and springboard injunctions. In his media work, Paul has advised a number of globally known stars on employment disputes and negotiations, including privacy agreements. In his commercial work, he has acted in claims for breach of contract, injunction applications, professional negligence matters, partnership disputes, and has acted for Puff Daddy (rapper Sean Combs) in passing off proceedings. He has appeared in information law cases and acts in commercial arbitrations. Other cases: Spencer v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2008] ICR 1359, the leading case on time limits in Francovich claims; Basildon v McCarthy [2009] 4 EG 117 (CS), equality duties and the decision by Basildon to carry out evictions at Europe’s largest traveller encampment; Dearlove v Combs (Puff Daddy) [2007] EWHC 375 (Ch), [2007] All ER (D) 367; Copland v UK [2007], a claim before ECHR concerning the extent to which, prior to the introduction of the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act 2000, it is permissible for an employer to carry out surveillance of an employee; Adebayo v Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein [2005] IRLR 514 (EAT), a leading case on the approach to be taken to the reversal of the burden of proof in discrimination cases; Hewett v Motorola [2004] IRLR 545 (EAT), autism is a disability; Saggar v MoD [2005] IRLR 618, [2005] ICR 1073 (CA), a leading case on jurisdiction in discrimination claims; Walton v Independent Living Organisation [2003] ICR 688 (CA), minimum wage; British Nursing Association v Inland Revenue [2002] IRLR 480 (CA), [2001] IRLR 659 (EAT), minimum wage; Triesman v Ali [2002] EWCA Vic 93 (CA), [2001] AER (D) 112 EAT, Labour Party race discrimination claim; Edmonds v Lawson [2000] QB 501 (CA), minimum wage for pupil barristers.


Called 1988; took Silk in 2006; appears before the EAT for the Employment Lawyers Association Advisory Scheme (ELAAS) and represents litigants under the Bar Pro Bono Scheme and for FRU; writes and lectures regularly on employment, discrimination and human rights issues, including for the Law Society, Liberty, Justice, the European Commission, the Employment Lawyers Association, the Employment Law Bar Association, the Industrial Law Society, the European Rights Academy and others; teaches advocacy for the Middle Temple and has appeared on Television Education Network; publications: Tolley’s ‘Working Time’; Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s ‘Precedents of Pleading’; Butterworths ‘Employment Law Guide’; IRS Eclipse ‘Competencies’. In 2012 qualified as a mediator and has conducted mediations.


French, German.


Past chair Employment Law Bar Association; member of Employment Lawyers Association management committee; Industrial Law Society. Bencher of Middle Temple.


Oxford, (BA Hons, First).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Employment

(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 2

Paul Epstein QCCloistersA masterly silk; deft in providing difficult advice, tactically astute and exceptionally thorough.

Cloisters‘ members are highly regarded for their expert knowledge in all aspects of employment law across a broad range of sectors including financial services, transport, education, government, retail, and technology. The set’s members act for both employers and employees, including trade unions. Robin Allen QC and Rachel Crasnow QC acted for part-time judges in O’Brien v Ministry of Justice, a high-value claim which considered discrimination against part-time judges in the calculation of pensions; in November 2018 the Court of Justice of the European Union found in their clients’ favour, bringing the 13-year dispute to a close. Elsewhere, Paul Epstein QC represented Birmingham City Council and Tesco in a multimillion-pound mass equal pay disputes.