Throughout June, in celebration of Pride Month, Lewis Chatten of our Family Department is preparing a series of articles focusing on a specific LGBTQ+ topics in the context of family and child law. This article focuses on Gender Recognition Certificates and the law that assists individuals whose gender identity does not match up with the gender that they were assigned at birth.
At birth an individual’s gender is registered on their birth certificate however later in life it may become apparent that the gender assigned at birth does not match that individual’s true gender identity.
A Gender Recognition Certificate is a formal document issued by the Gender Recognition Panel to legally recognise an individual’s acquired gender in the UK and will award all the rights appropriate to an individual’s acquired gender including state pension age and their right to retire.
Once a Gender Recognition Certificate has been obtained, an individual can also obtain a new birth certificate showing their legally recognised gender. It is however important to note that a Gender Recognition Certificate is not retrospective and it will not re-write an individual’s gender history.
Acquiring a Gender Recognition Certificate
Currently, there are three different routes one can take to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate; the standard route, the alternative route and the overseas route.
Acquiring a Gender Recognition Certificate may have a legal impact on other aspects of life. It may have a legal impact upon marriage or civil partnership, right to retire, entitlement to state pension, right to inherit and other legal implications whether positive or negative. It is therefore important to consider any practical and/or legal implications of acquiring a Gender Recognition Certificate before applying.
It is important to note that many will want to apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate to be legally recognised in their acquired gender however it is not mandatory and it is a personal choice as to whether one wishes to apply or not.
Any application for a Gender Recognition Certificate must be made to the Gender Recognition Panel, a panel made up of medical and legal professionals. The application fee is currently £140 but this fee can be waived if the applicant is on low income or if they are in receipt of universal credit. Information on the fee can be obtained from the justice website.
In order to qualify, a set criteria must be met. As mentioned above, there are currently three different routes to apply under; whatever route is chosen should be based on one’s own personal circumstances. A statutory declaration should also be completed depending on personal circumstances.
Under all circumstances the applicant must be at least 18 years of age and must have two expert reports confirming that they have a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria. At least one of those expert reports must have been provided by a Gender Dysphoria specialist.
If the criteria is met, then the Gender Recognition Panel will consider whether a full certificate or an interim certificate should be issued.
An Interim Gender Recognition Certificate is usually issued where the applicant is married and either they or their spouse do not want their marriage to continue after a Gender Recognition Certificate has been granted. The interim certificate will allow time for the couple to make an application for divorce or dissolution of their civil partnership before the full Gender Recognition Certificate is granted.
Unlike most Courts, the Gender Recognition Panel does not normally require a hearing to determine an application; most applications are dealt with “on paper.” A statutory declaration, or numerous statutory declarations, will need to be enclosed with the application for a Gender Recognition Certificate. Statutory declarations can be prepared and witnessed by a solicitor.
We Can Help
If you would like advice on what steps to take to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate and how certain aspects of your life may be affected, then please do not hesitate to contact a member of our dedicated family team who would be happy to assist. We can also assist in the preparation of statutory declarations. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 0121 704 3311.