For Women Scot Vs The Scottish Ministers (2023)

For Women Scot Vs The Scottish Ministers

For Women Scot Vs The Scottish Ministers

October 2023

We share the disappointment of FWS on the outcome of their case Vs. The Scottish Ministers (2023) in the ruling made yesterday.

The ruling confirms that those without a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) remain their actual sex for all legal purposes.  This should halt the widespread practice of self-identification of sex, which has been advanced outside the law and must be challenged.

It also makes clear that the Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Bill does encroach on the UK-wide Equality Act, which is reserved legislation.  This will strengthen the UK government case under section 35 for preventing the Bill proceeding to Royal Assent.

The ruling of the Court of Session, that A person with a GRC in the female gender comes within the definition of “woman” for the purposes of section 11 of the Equality Act” undermines the function of single-sex exceptions.

Provision on the basis of actual sex is explicitly legal for single sex services, genuine occupational requirements, and gender-affected activities in the Equality Act.  However the provision on the basis of actual sex of communal accommodations, women-only short lists and single-characteristic associations are now clearly threatened.  The case for statutory definition of sex in the Equality Act could not be stronger or more urgent. 

We support Sex Matters’ call on the UK government to resolve the issue using secondary legislation to clarify the meaning of sex in the Equality Act.

It remains our position that people cannot change sex and that only women can be lesbians.


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For Women Scot: Court decision – reclaiming motion on the Statutory Guidance for the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act


Sex Matters: Court rules that GRC changes sex for the Equality Act


WPUK: Statement on the UK Government’s decision to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (Scotland)


WPUK statement: For Women Scotland vs the Scottish Ministers (2022)


Michael Foran: Scottish feminists lose appeal on definition of woman


The National: For Women Scotland lose Court of Session appeal over woman definition


The Herald: For Women Scotland lose court appeal over definition of woman


MBM Policy: Courting confusion: current cases involving the Scottish Government, sex and gender recognition

We believe that it is important to share a range of viewpoints on women’s rights and advancement from different perspectives. WPUK does not necessarily agree or endorse all the views that we share.