LCD faces further charges on sex equality

THE LORD Chancellor's Department is facing a series of further embarrassing sex discrimination cases.

AMO, the trade union for Magistrates' Courts staff, has lodged a series of sex and disability cases against the LCD over its plans to retrain court clerks as fully qualified solicitors or barristers.

The lodging of the claims follows on from last week's ruling that Lord Irvine indirectly sexually discriminated over the appointment of special adviser Garry Hart.

AMO is taking the cases of seven members – six women and one man – to industrial tribunal, claiming that the new requirements that all clerks under 40 must be fully qualified is discriminatory.

AMO general-secretary Rosie Eagleson says: “We are absolutely confident of success and ask the Lord Chancellor to withdraw the change, even at this late stage, in the interests of common sense and natural justice.”

An LCD spokesman says: “We will be contesting this claim. We feel we have put together a very generous package for training court clerks who are not fully legally qualified.”

The qualification change, brought in on January 1, exempts clerks aged over 40 and gives others 10 years to qualify. The LCD reckons that 205 clerks will have to undergo retraining.