FOR WOMEN SCOTLAND:
WHAT THEIR VICTORY MEANS
by Gordon Dangerfield (19 Feb 2022)
Let me start by offering my hearty congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Marion, Trina, Susan and all at For Women Scotland for their sensational victory in the Court of Session this week. They have done a mighty service to every person in Scotland who still has a grip on reality.
For all non-legal folks, be in no doubt about the importance of this decision. It comes from the Inner House of the Court of Session, which is Scotland’s highest civil court. It is therefore, as of now, the definitive and authoritative statement of Scots law on the matters it covers.
What the decision covers
One very important matter that the decision covers is the definition of “sex”, and of “woman” and “man”, for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.
This is what the court said about that:
“[A] reference to a person who has a protected characteristic of sex is a reference either to a man or to a woman. For this purpose a man is a male of any age; and a woman is a female of any age…. [W]hen one speaks of individuals sharing the protected characteristic of sex, one is taken to be referring to one or other sex, either male or female.… Provisions in favour of women, in this context, by definition exclude those who are biologically male.”
This is unequivocal.
It means that whenever the protections provided by the Equality Act are being considered in Scotland and the question arises of what a “man” or a “woman” is in the context of those protections, a man is a person of any age who is “biologically male” and a woman is a person of any age who is “biologically female”.
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