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THE LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT - Transsexual People

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  • Claire Ashton
    THE LORD CHANCELLOR S DEPARTMENT Source Anon. http://www.lcd.gov.uk/constitution/transsex/tpeople.htm Transsexual People - Update August 2002 ... Introduction
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2002
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      THE LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT



      Source Anon.


      http://www.lcd.gov.uk/constitution/transsex/tpeople.htm





      Transsexual People - Update
      August 2002

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      Introduction
      Parliamentary Questions

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      Introduction
      The question of the extent to which the acquired gender of transsexual
      people should be recognised has been under consideration for some time.

      An Interdepartmental Working Group on Transsexual People was set up by the
      then Home Secretary in April 1999 and tasked with considering - with special
      reference to birth certificates - the need for appropriate legal measures to
      address the problems experienced by transsexual people. The Working Group
      was particularly asked to pay due regard to scientific and societal
      developments, and measures undertaken in other countries.

      Its report was presented to Parliament in July 2000. The report recorded the
      current legal position of transsexual people in the UK in areas including
      marriage, family law, the criminal justice system, employment, social
      security, insurance and sport.

      It identified three possible options:

      to retain the status quo and leave the law unchanged;

      to issue birth certificates showing a transsexual person's new name and
      possibly sex, and

      to grant full legal recognition of the acquired gender -

      but made no firm recommendation as to the action to be taken by Government.

      Since then the report has been under active consideration within
      Government - both before and after the transfer of responsibility for
      co-ordination of the Working Group to the Lord Chancellor's Department
      following the General Election in June 2001.

      We announced in a press notice on 21 June that the Working Group on
      Transsexual People was to be reconvened to give further consideration to
      issues affecting transsexual people, including matters such as birth
      certificates, inheritance provision, family law and pension rights.
      Ministers had decided that reconvening the interdepartmental group of
      officials was the best way to achieve comprehensive consideration of the
      wide range of such issues, which affect the policy responsibilities of a
      number of other Government Departments and of the devolved administrations.

      Ministers have now also asked the reconvened Working Group to look urgently
      into the implications of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
      in the cases of Christine Goodwin -v- the United Kingdom and I -v- the
      United Kingdom, and to make recommendations.

      These wide-ranging judgments were delivered on 11 July 2002. The Court found
      that the United Kingdom had breached the Convention rights of these two
      transsexual people under Article 8 (respect for private life) and Article 12
      (right to marry).

      The Government is obliged, under national law, to implement the judgments
      and will decide as soon as possible how to do so. The Working Group
      anticipates making recommendations to Ministers in October. The Government
      plans to make an announcement later in the autumn on how it expects to
      implement the judgments.






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      Parliamentary Questions - July 2002
      Colin Pickthall MP
      Lynne Jones MP
      Lord Lester of Herne Hill
      The text of relevant Parliamentary Questions answered by LCD Ministers Rosie
      Winterton and Baroness Scotland in July, before Parliament rose for the
      recess, follows:

      Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's
      Department when she will make a statement about the ECHR judgments in the
      cases of Goodwin v. UK and I v. UK; and when she expects British
      transsexuals will be able (a) to change their NI numbers and (b) to marry.
      [71488]

      Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government reconvened recently the Interdepartmental
      Working Group on Transsexual People, to re-examine the implications of
      granting full legal status to transsexual people in their acquired gender,
      and to make recommendations to Ministers before the end of this year. It has
      now been tasked additionally with considering urgently the implications of
      the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of
      Christine Goodwin v. The United Kingdom and I v. The United Kingdom.

      The Government are obliged, under international law, to implement the
      judgments and will decide as soon as possible how to do so. The devolved
      Administrations are also considering their approach to these issues where
      responsibilities are devolved.

      The matters under consideration include policy on marriage and national
      insurance arrangements. Transsexual people may already obtain new national
      insurance cards in their new names.

      Following the ruling, statutes must be interpreted in the light of the ECtHR
      findings and, where a statute allows, discretion must be exercised
      differently in any case where the traditional interpretation or exercise of
      discretion would result in a violation of a transsexual person's Convention
      rights.

      Lynne Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's
      Department

      whether the Government accepts the ruling of the European Court of Human
      Rights in the case of Goodwin and I; what action is being taken to bring UK
      law into compliance with the ruling; and if she will make a statement;
      [71604]

      what the terms of reference are of the reconvened Interdepartmental Working
      Group on Transsexual Rights. [71605]

      Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government will decide their response to the Court's
      judgments as soon as possible. We had already reconvened the
      Interdepartmental Working Group on Transsexual People because the issues
      faced by the transsexual community affect the policy of a large number of
      Government Departments and the devolved Administrations.

      The group met on 9 July. Its agreed terms of reference are:

      "In the light of the report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on
      Transsexual People and more recent relevant developments, to re-examine the
      implications of granting full legal status to transsexual people in their
      acquired gender; and to make recommendations".

      These terms of reference remain valid subsequent to the ruling of the ECtHR,
      delivered on 11 July: but the Working Group has been tasked to consider
      urgently the implications of the judgments in the cases of Christine Goodwin
      v. The United Kingdom and I v. The United Kingdom. The Government are
      obliged, under international law, to implement the judgments and will decide
      as soon as possible how to do so. The devolved Administrations are also
      considering their approach to these issues where responsibilities are
      devolved. Recommendations on a course of action will be put to Ministers in
      October for collective decisions to be reached during the autumn.

      Following the ruling, statutes must be interpreted in the light of the ECtHR
      findings and, where a statute allows, discretion must be exercised
      differently in any case where the traditional interpretation or exercise of
      discretion would result in a violation of a transsexual person's Convention
      rights.

      Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

      What are the reasons for the continuing delay in introducing legislation to
      give transsexuals legal recognition and the right to marry in accordance
      with the European Convention on Human Rights; and

      whether they will speedily introduce such legislation.[HL5289]

      Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government recently reconvened the
      Interdepartmental Working Group on Transsexual People to re-examine the
      implications of granting full legal status to transsexual people in their
      acquired gender, and to make recommendations to Ministers before the end of
      this year. The working group met on 9 July. It has now been tasked
      additionally with considering urgently the implications of the judgments of
      the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of Christine Goodwin v. The
      United Kingdom and I v. The United Kingdom.

      Reconvening the working group has been necessary as the interests of
      transsexual people touch on the policy responsibilities of a large number of
      government departments and the devolved administrations. Responses to the
      Court's ruling must be carefully co-ordinated.

      The Government are obliged, under international law, to implement the
      judgments and will decide as soon as possible how to do so. The devolved
      administrations are also considering their approach to these issues where
      responsibilities are devolved.

      Following the ruling, statutes must be interpreted in the light of the ECtHR
      findings and, where a statute allows, discretion must be exercised
      differently in any case where the traditional interpretation of exercise of
      discretion would result in a violation of a transsexual person's convention
      rights.
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