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13 April, 2021

Court rules that definition of Woman in the GRPB Act should include transwomen

In the Petition for Judicial Review of For Women Scotland of the definition of “Woman” contained in the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018 ‘GRPB Act’, Lady Wise has found that the Scottish Government acted lawfully in including transwomen in the GRPB Act. For Women Scotland challenged the legality of the GRPB Act amid concerns that the Scottish Government had “redefined” the word woman, and acted beyond its competence encroaching on reserved powers over equality legislation. In a highly significant ruling Lady Wise held the Sottish Ministers had acted lawfully under a “specific power” that enabled it to take equal opportunities measures and had not breached the UK Equality Act.  Lady Wise stated that GRPB Act did not offend against the fundamental principle of equality of treatment explaining that, “EU law confirms that discrimination against transwomen is sex discrimination about which member states can legislate”.

Lady Wise’s full judgment can be read here.

Aidan O’Neill QC of Ampersand represented the petitioners For Women Scotland and Dorothy Bain QC of Ampersand also represented Scottish Trans Alliance a Charity which is part of the Equality Network in their Public Interest Intervention.

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