W v W (Physical inter-sex): FD 31 Oct 2000

A party to a marriage had ambiguous physical characteristics. The respondent’s sex at birth was uncertain, and that the parents chose to register her as a boy. As a child and a young woman she dressed as, appeared as, and acted as female. At 17, she finally ran permanently away from home and thereafter lived as a woman before gender re-assignment surgery, and had consummated the marriage as female, but was infertile.
Held: In the circumstances it would be correct to find that she was female for the purposes of testing the validity of the marriage. On the true construction of the Matrimonial Causes Act, greater emphasis could be placed on gender rather than sex.


Charles J


Times 31-Oct-2000, [2001] Fam 111


Matrimonial Causes Act 1973


England and Wales

Cited by:

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 . .
CitedBellinger v Bellinger CA 17-Jul-2001
Transgender Male may not marry as Female
Despite gender re-assignment, a person born and registered a male, remained biologically a male, and so was not a woman for the purposes of the law of marriage. The birth registration in this case had been correct. The words ‘male and female’ in the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 06 August 2022; Ref: scu.90217