Bell v Tavistock quashed on appeal – quick read

The Court of Appeal has today reversed the judgment handed down in Bell v Tavistock by the Divisional Court. We are proud to have stood with subject experts Brook, The Endocrine Society, and Liberty, as well as having the backing of legal experts The Good Law Project. Thanks to this intervention, the court heard submissions from GI — the only trans-led organisation given a voice in this appeal — and other experts in reproductive health, young people’s competency, and endocrinology.

The Court of Appeal has stated that “the [original] claim for judicial review should have been dismissed” outright. The Court of Appeal decision is great news for trans youth, and points out that it “was inappropriate for the Divisional Court to provide the guidance” in the first place.

Gillick Competence

The guidance as demanded by the Divisional Court has been found to be “an improper restriction on the Gillick test of competence”. The Court of Appeal’s judgment makes it clear that decisions around Gillick competence are the same for trans youth as for all others, and that no unique restrictions need be placed on a person’s ability to consent simply because they are trans.

What now?

To our knowledge, not a single patient has been put forward to the endocrinology teams since the Divisional Court’s December 2020 decision. The Court of Appeal highlighted that at no point were the Tavistock’s policies and procedures found to be unlawful. There is no reason for NHS England to not return to its original treatment pathways.

Gendered Intelligence believes it is important that NHS England update/revert their guidance to reflect the Court of Appeal’s decision, and we will be writing to them to ask that this is looked at urgently.

Until the NHS England guidance is changed, a court order will still be needed for referral for endocrine services. We imagine that until the guidance changes, there will continue to be no new referrals.

At Gendered Intelligence, we are very happy that the Court of Appeal has reiterated the importance of Gillick competence for all, without restrictions. We remain cautiously optimistic that things will improve for trans youth and that their healthcare needs will be met in a timely fashion.

If you want to know more about Gendered Intelligence’s stance on puberty delaying treatment as a whole, click here for our new position statement (PDF).

For more detail, please see our ‘longer read’ version of this statement here.

By genderedintelligence

Gendered Intelligence is a trans-led charity based in the U.K. Our object is to: - Deliver arts programmers and creative workshops to trans youth (under the age of 25) from across the UK in order to increase the quality of young trans people’s life experiences. - Deliver facilitated workshops to all young people within schools, colleges, youth groups and other settings from across the UK, in order to generate discussion and debate around gender and the ways in which it presents challenges in our everyday lives. - Offer Continuing Professional Development, trans awareness training, policy development and consultation as well as attend conferences and events to raise awareness of young trans people’s experiences and needs across the UK and beyond. - To contribute to the creation of community cohesion across the whole of the trans community throughout the UK by bringing trans people and professional services together to form partnerships and run projects that will benefit the trans community. To understand more about our organisation, please visit our website at http://genderedintelligence.co.uk!

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