Alex Perry appeared on behalf of the Applicant Local Authority and Emma Gatland, instructed by Reeds Solicitors, appeared on behalf of A (a child) the Third Respondent acting through their Children’s Guardian in A Local Authority v The Mother & Ors  EWFC 90 which raised important points of principle in respect of both law and procedure where transgenderism is involved.
The submission was being advanced (by the parent who now identifies as the opposite gender) that the rights and protections which should accompany gender re-identification were being infringed on a continuing basis by the local authority, some professionals, and the Court.
Additionally to this, the Court was faced with an application by the same parent for disclosure of some or all of the very sensitive information contained within the papers in order to permit them to be distributed to a large number of identified recipients for the purpose of raising issues at all levels (locally, nationally, and online).
The matter proceeded on evidence and submissions. Giving judgment, the Judge agreed with Alex and Emma that there was no tension between the Court’s paramount concern (the child’s welfare) and the parent’s rights in any way that related to gender re-identification, thus enabling the Judge to make a welfare decision which did not infringe the parent’s rights.
The Judge further agreed with Alex and Emma that it was not appropriate for the very sensitive information in the bundle to be circulated due to the risk of “jigsaw identification”. It was agreed by all parties that the parent be given permission to disclose the papers to a qualified legal representative for the specific purpose of pursuing other avenues following the conclusion of these proceedings.
The Court rightly pointed out that this was the Family Court and was a case about a child, not a parent.