The Court of Session is hearing arguments on day two of the legal battle between the Scottish and UK Governments over gender reform.
On Tuesday, Scotland’s Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain argued Westminster’s use of a section 35 order to block Holyrood’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill from gaining royal assent was “unconstitutional,” arguing the decision meant the Scottish Parliament was not able to legislate on issues its UK counterparts disagreed with.
Scottish secretary Alister Jack triggered the never-before-used power of the Scotland Act – the legislation which established the Scottish Parliament – to halt gender laws which sought to simplify the process for trans people to self-identify and obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC).
The Scottish legislation seeks to change the age at which a person can obtain a GRC from 18 to 16, and removes the requirement of a gender dysphoria diagnosis.
David Johnston KC, acting on behalf of the UK Government, began his introductory remarks on Tuesday which will continue into Wednesday afternoon, with the hearing expected to conclude on Thursday.
In a 15-minute opening statement, he said Section 35 was “integral” to the constitutional distribution of the Scotland Act.
He added: “It’s an express recognition on the face of the Act on the possibility that devolved policy may have an adverse impact on the operation of the law as it applies to reserved matters.”
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