Scot Govt pays out £150k after losing fight to redefine ‘woman’

The Scottish Government has paid out almost £150,000 in legal fees after failing to change the definition of woman to include men.

Women’s rights group For Women Scotland (FWS) took legal action against the Government for including men who identify as female in a law designed to address the number of women on public boards.

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The group initially failed in its judicial review of the Gender Representation on Public Boards (Scotland) Act 2018, but have now received £147,500 towards their legal costs following a successful appeal earlier this year.

‘Clear error’

FWS said it will use the money in its separate judicial review against the Scottish Government for revising statutory guidance on the Act in a way that still attempts to change the definition of women.

The guidance now claims that where Gender Recognition Certificates (GRC) have been issued to people who identify as the opposite sex, their sex becomes the one stated on their GRC.

In a statement, FWS said Scottish ministers have made a “clear error in law” by attempting to create a category of ‘legal sex’ separate from a person’s biological sex.

The case is to be heard later this year in November.

Concerns

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Westminster is seeking legal advice over the implications for the rest of the UK of Scottish Government plans to allow people to self-identify their legal sex.

If passed, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill would allow Scots as young as 16 to change their legal sex.

This comes as amid growing public opposition to allowing those who claim to be the opposite sex to alter their birth certificats.

The 2021 British Social Attitudes survey, which comprised 6,250 interviews with adults in Britain, found that opposition had risen from 24 per cent in 2019 to 39 per cent in 2021. Support for changing birth certificates fell from 53 per cent in 2019 to 32 per cent in 2021.