herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Transgender medic settles lawsuit over new birth certificate

TRANSGENDER woman Lydia Foy has effectively settled her action against the State aimed at securing a birth certificate in her acquired gender.

The settlement was reached on the basis of a statement to the High Court that it was the Government's "firm intention" to enact the necessary laws "as soon as possible" next year.

Dr Foy was not in court when the settlement of her 21-year battle was announced to Mr Justice Paul Gilligan, but her solicitor Michael Farrell said afterwards she was "very pleased".

The settlement was achieved on the basis of the State telling the judge it was the "expressed intention" of the Government to secure the enactment into law of the Gender Recognition Bill 2014, which would enable Dr Foy to get the certificate.

In a statement read by Nicholas Butler SC, for the State, it was announced that it is the "expressed intention" of the Government to publish the Bill by the end of this year.

On that and other terms, Bill Shipsey SC, for Dr Foy, said the case could be taken out of the High Court list and mentioned again on January 29.

Mr Shipsey said he wanted the case taken out as "substantive agreement" had been reached with the State.

damages

Last March, the court was told Dr Foy wanted the case to proceed given the State's failure to enact laws recognising her rights despite a declaration six years ago that failure breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Dr Foy sought a birth certificate in her acquired gender and damages for breach of her rights and personal injuries.

As the European Convention on Human Rights Act 2003 provides a mechanism for compensating people whose rights are transgressed, the Government has appointed Eoghan Fitzsimons SC to deal with that aspect.

Dr Foy's bid for a birth certificate dates from March 1993 when she first wrote to the Registrar General.

When that was refused, she initiated a court action, culminating in a 2007 High Court finding that the State's failure to legislate to recognise transgender persons in their preferred gender breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

In July 2013, six years later, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton published heads of a Gender Recognition Bill.

hnews@herald.ie

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