C, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: SC 1 Nov 2017

This case is about how the Department for Work and Pensions (the DWP), in administering our complex welfare benefits system, treats people with a reassigned gender, and specifically whether certain policies conflict (1) with the Gender Recognition Act 2004; (2) with the Human Rights Act 1998; or (3) with the Equality Act 2010. The claimant was distressed that the respondent’s computer system gave access to her historical gender despite the issue of a gender recognition certificate under the 2004 Act.
Held: The Retention and SRC policies are not inconsistent with, or prohibited by, any provision of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.
The courts below were entitled to reach the conclusion that the CIS Retention policy was a proportionate means of achieving its legitimate aims and I share their view. In reaching this conclusion, I in no way seek to minimise the importance to the appellant and others in her situation of the intrusion into her privacy which is entailed by the policy. For her, and for others, it must be good news that the Department has taken their concerns seriously, and that they will be differently catered for when Universal Credit is rolled out throughout the country.
Retaining details of earlier identities was not directly discriminatory because the respondent retained such information about all claimants.
‘ the concerns which the appellant has raised before and during these proceedings are very real and important to her, and no doubt to other transgender customers of the DWP. The proceedings have already brought about some change in DWP policy and no doubt the DWP will continue to consider how the service it offers to transgender customers could be improved. The introduction of Universal Credit is an opportunity to do this. But for all the reasons given earlier the Retention and SCR policies are not unlawful under either the Human Rights Act 1998 or the Equality Act 2010 and this appeal must be dismissed.’


Baroness Hale of Richmond PSC, Lord Kerr of Tonaghmore, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes JJSC


[2017] UKSC 72


Bailii, WLRD


Equality Act 2010 19, Gender Recognition Act 2004 9 22, Human Rights Act 1998


England and Wales


At First InstanceC, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Another Admn 18-Jul-2014
The court was asked as to the extent to which the State should retain personal information about citizens, and whether its policies or practices for doing so comply with the human rights of those citizens. It arose in the instant case in a . .
Appeal fromC, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CA 9-Feb-2016
The Court was asked whether, in the context of awarding Jobseeker’s Allowance, the State has unjustifiably interfered with the right of transgender persons to have information about their gender reassignment kept private.
Held: The appeal . .
CitedGoodwin v The United Kingdom ECHR 11-Jul-2002
The claimant was a post operative male to female trans-sexual. She claimed that her human rights were infringed when she was still treated as a man for National Insurance contributions purposes, where she continued to make payments after the age at . .
CitedBellinger v Bellinger HL 10-Apr-2003
Transgender Male to Female not to marry as Female
The parties had gone through a form of marriage, but Mrs B had previously undergone gender re-assignment surgery. Section 11(c) of the 1973 Act required a marriage to be between a male and a female. It was argued that the section was incompatible . .
CitedJ v C and E (a Child) (Void Marriage: Status of Children) CA 15-May-2006
The parties had lived together as a married couple. They had had a child together by artificial insemination. It was then revealed that Mr J was a woman. The parties split up, and Mr J applied for an order for contact with the child.
Held: The . .
CitedIdentoba And Others v Georgia ECHR 12-May-2015
The Strasbourg court found a breach of article 3 where the authorities had failed to protect LGBTI demonstrators from attack by homophobic counter-demonstrators. . .
CitedThlimmenos v Greece ECHR 6-Apr-2000
(Grand Chamber) The applicant was a Jehovah’s Witness who had been convicted of insubordination under the Military Criminal Code for refusing to wear a military uniform at a time of general mobilisation. He was subsequently refused appointment as a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Discrimination, Human Rights, Administrative

Updated: 01 October 2022; Ref: scu.598453