Legal aid victory in battle for equal right to ride

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The Independent Online
Two women fighting a court battle to be part of a centuries-old all-male riding festival have been granted legal aid. Mandy Graham, 21, and Ashley Simpson, 24, are challenging a decision to ban them from last year's Hawick Common Riding Festival, saying the decision was unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

They have already been granted pounds 2,500 by the Equal Opportunities Commission to proceed with their case. And yesterday Sheriff Brian Donald was told that they had also been granted legal aid for their battle. The sheriff was hearing legal arguments from lawyers representing the women and last year's riding committee at Jedburgh sheriff court in the Scottish Borders. After listening to six hours of argument, he reserved judgment on the matter. He is expected to issue a written decision in the next few weeks and could recommend that the matter goes to a full hearing with witnesses being called.

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