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English magistrates’ court clerks have won their battle not to retrain as lawyers. The English Lord Chancellor’s Department has agreed out of court to dump its policy of making all clerks under 40 qualify as solicitors or barristers. Seven female clerks, who took the department to the Employment Tribunal, forced the U-turn. Rosie Eagleson, general secretary of the Association of Magisterial Officers, which funded the action, tells “This policy would have been a huge burden to many of our members and we’re thrilled to have got it changed.” The tribunal ruled it had no jurisdiction to hear the clerks’ argument that retraining discriminates against women. The settlement came before they launched an appeal. A Lord Chancellor’s Department spokeswoman says new clerks will still have to be legally qualified. “One hundred of the 200 existing clerks affected by the old policy have already signed up for this free retraining and we hope many more still will,” she adds.

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