A transgender woman has failed in her claim that the Gender Recognition Act 2004 breaches the privacy of those who have had surgery or other medical procedures towards gender reassignment. Section 3(3) of the Act requires that individuals reveal details of such medical procedures to a Gender Recognition Panel to back up an application for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Yet the Panel is empowered to issue the certificates to people who have had no such procedures as long as they can provide evidence of gender dysphoria and show they intend to live according to their chosen gender for the rest of their life.
A UK High Court judge rejected the claim by Helen Carpenter, who has transitioned from male to female, that the extra burden on those who had had or were contemplating medical procedures was a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights on privacy.
Section 3(3) of the GRA 2014 says that if the applicant for a certificate “has undergone or is undergoing treatment for the purpose of modifying sexual characteristics” or plans such treatment or has had it prescribed then it is required that a doctor’s report on her position “provides details of it”. Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: “Given that this information is necessary to the decision to be taken, that its dissemination beyond the Panel is prohibited, I am satisfied that the provision of the information required in paragraph 3(3) is necessary and proportionate to the legitimate aim. There is no incompatibility with Article 8.”
Filed under Analysis, Comment, ECHR, Equal-opportunities, Equality, European Convention on Human Rights, Human rights, Law, Legal, Politics, UK Law, UK Politics, Uncategorized
Amendments to the 2005 Act are set out in full below
The Crime and Courts Bill 2012 has important amendments to Britain’s Constitutional Reform Act 2005 that reduce the independence from the Government of judicial appointments.
In particular the Secretary of State for Justice (aka Lord Chancellor), currently Kenneth Clarke, is to sit on the appointment panel for the President of the Supreme Court (while the sitting president would be removed) and Lord Chief Justice; whole sections on judicial appointments procedure are removed from the 2005 Act; powers to decide how to replace those sections are given to the Secretary of State (quasi-Henry VIII powers); as are powers to decide the make-up of the Judicial Appointments Commission (with a view to increasing the proportion of lay members compared with judicial members).
It is intended that the 12 UK Supreme Court justices should become a “maximum” of 12 (or full-time equivalents) with the Secretary of State deciding exactly what number is required.
There are also amendments intended to increase diversity such as provision for part-time judicial posts and a “tipping point” provision whereby diversity requirements can come into play if two judicial candidates are deemed of equal merit.
The changes are in Schedule 12 to the Bill. Since it is often difficult to read back to the original Act on the basis of amendments, Thinking Legally has stitched together the relevant sections of the 2005 Act with the amendments in the Crime and Courts Bill regarding judicial appointments and also diversity. Continue reading