Sterilisation er et ulovligt krav som betingelse for at ændre kønsbetegnelse i fødselsattest, fastslog Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol – ECHR 121 (2017) – den 6. april 2017.

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Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol

Pressemeddelelse den 6. april 2017 fra Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Kravet om sterilisation eller en behandling, der medfører en meget høj sandsynlighed for sterilitet som betingelse for at ændre fødselsattester, var i strid med retten til respekt for privatlivet.

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol første instans (Kammeret) [1] afsagde den 6. april 2017 dom i sagen A.P., Garçon og Nicot mod Frankrig (application nr. 79885/12, 52471/13 og 52596/13).

Domstolen afgjorde med stemmerne seks mod en, at der var sket overtrædelse af artikel 8 (Ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv) i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention for så vidt angik E. Garçon og S. Nicot, som følge af kravet om at kræve den irreversible ændring af deres kroppe.

Domstolen afgjorde med et flertal, at der ikke var sket overtrædelse af artikel 8 i konventionen for så vidt angik E. Garçon på grund af forpligtelsen til at bevise, at han rent faktisk led af kønsidentitetsforstyrrelse, og for så vidt angik A.P. på grund af forpligtelsen til at gennemgå en lægeundersøgelse.

Sagen drejede sig om tre transpersoner med fransk statsborgerskab, som ønskede at ændre kønsbetegnelsen og deres fornavn på deres fødselsattester, men som fik ikke lov til det af de franske domstole. Sagsøgerne fremførte blandt andet, at myndighederne havde tilsidesat deres ret til respekt for deres privatliv ved at gøre anerkendelse af deres kønsidentitet betinget af, at de gennemgik en operation, der medførte en høj sandsynlighed for sterilitet.

Domstolen fastslog navnlig, at dét at gøre anerkendelsen af transpersoner kønsidentitet betinget af en uønsket operation eller sterilisation fratog dem deres ret til respekt for deres privatliv.

Vigtigste fakta
De tre klagere er franske statsborgere. Den første klager, A.P., blev født i 1983 og bor i Paris (Frankrig). Den anden klager, E. Garçon, blev født i 1958 og bor i Perreux-sur-Marne (Frankrig). Den tredje klager, S. Nicot, blev født i 1952 og bor i Essey-les-Nancy (Frankrig). I betragtning af ligheden mellem sagerne fandt Domstolen det hensigtsmæssigt at behandlede dem samlet i henhold til artikel 42 § 1 i Domstolens forretningsorden.

Den 11. september 2008 blev A.P.’s sag mod den offentlige anklager indbragt for Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) for at få det konstateret, om han nu var en kvinde, og at hans fornavn var A. (et kvindeligt fornavn). Han indsendte fire lægeerklæringer til støtte for sin anmodning, hvoraf den ene var en erklæring om kønsskifteoperation gennemgået i Thailand den 3. juli 2008. I en foreløbig dom den 17. februar 2009 bestilte TGI en rapport om de fysiologiske, biologiske og psykologiske aspekter af hans situation. A.P. nægtede at underkaste sig disse undersøgelser på grund af omkostningerne og pga., at det var en krænkelse af hans fysiske og moralske integritet. Ved dom af 10. november 2009 blev A.P. vægring afvist af TGI. Appelretten i Paris stadfæstede TGI’s dom i det omfang, at den afviste anmodningen om at ændre hans kønsbetegnelse, men beordrede, at fornavne skulle ændres. Den 7. juni 2012 afviste Kassationsretten en appel.

Den 17. marts 2009 behandledes E. Garçons sag mod den offentlige anklager i Créteil tribunal de grande instance (TGI) for at få afgjort, at han nu var en kvinde, og at hans fornavn var Émilie. Han henviste til et erklæring udstedt af en psykiater i 2004, der angav, at han var transkønnet, men der var ikke medsendt nogen dokumenter. Den 9. februar 2010 afsagde TGI dom om, at da E. Garçon ikke havde godtgjort, at han reelt led af kønsidentitetsforstyrrelse, burde sagen afvises. Appelretten i Paris stadfæstede dommen. Den 13. februar 2013 afviste Kassationsretten en appel.

Den 13. juni 2007 behandledes S. Nicots sag mod den offentlige anklager i Nancy TGI for at få afgjort, at han nu var kvinde og at hans fornavn var Stéphanie. Den 7. november 2008 udsatte TGI sagen og besluttet, at lægeerklæringer om klagerens medicinske og kirurgiske behandling, der beviste omfanget af hans kønsskifte, skulle indgå i sagen. S. Nicot nægtede at indsende disse erklæringer. Som følge deraf afsagde TGI dom den 13. marts 2009 om, at sagen var afvist. Nancy appelret stadfæstede dommen. Den 13. februar 2013 afviste Kassationsretten en appel.

Klager, procedure og sammensætningen af Domstolen
Med henvisning til artikel 8 (Ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv) klagede A.P., E. Garçon og S. Nicot over, at ændring af kønsbetegnelsen på deres fødselsattest blev gjort betinget af irreversible ændringer af deres kroppe. E. Garçon klagede yderligere over, at kravet om at dokumentere, at han led af kønsidentitetsforstyrrelse tilsidesatte menneskelig værdighed for ham. Endelig klagede A.P. over, at de lægeundersøgelser, som de nationale domstole krævede gennemført, i det mindste var potentielt nedværdigende behandlinger.

Under henvisning til artikel 14 (Forbud mod diskriminering) sammenholdt med artikel 8 påstod E. Garçon og S. Nicot, at dét at gøre ændring af deres fødselsattester betinget af at fremlægge erklæringer om kønsidentitetsforstyrrelse eller kønsdysfori og erklæringer om at have gennemgået kønsskiftekirurgi indskrænkede denne ret til transseksuelle personer og nægtede denne ret til transpersoner.

A.P. påstod, at der var sket en krænkelse af artikel 6 (Ret til retfærdig rettergang), ved at de nationale domstole havde begået en åbenbar skønsfejl ved at konkludere, at da han nægtede at underkaste sig en lægeundersøgelse, var der ikke ført bevis for en irreversibel ændring af hans krop, selv om A.P. havde indsendt en lægeerklæring derom.

Ansøgningen blev indgivet til Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 5. december 2012.

Dom blev afsagt af en afdeling med syv dommere, sammensat som følger:
Angelika Nußberger (Tyskland), formand
André Potocki (Frankrig),
Faris Vehabovic (Bosnien-Hercegovina),
Yonko Grozev (Bulgarien),
Carlo Ranzoni (Liechtenstein),
Martinš Mits (Letland),
L.tif Huseynov (Aserbajdsjan),
og også Milan Blaško, stedfortrædende sektions-justitssekretær.

Domstolens afgørelse
Artikel 8
Domstolen bemærkede, at A.P. over for de nationale domstole ikke havde anfægtet den franske lovgivnings betingelse om, at ændringen af kroppen skulle være irreversibel, men ved hjælp af en udenlandsk lægeerklæring havde forsøgt at argumentere, at han opfyldt betingelsen.
Han havde derfor ikke udtømt de nationale retsmidler, hvorfor denne del af hans klage var afvist.

Med hensyn til de to andre klagers klage over dét kriterium, at ændringen af deres kroppe skulle være irreversible for, at en ansøgning om ændring af kønsbetegnelsen på en fødselsattest, kunne imødekommes, har regeringen ikke bestridt anvendelsen af artikel 8 i den foreliggende sag i relation til “privatliv”-aspektet, idet dette inkluderede retten til kønsidentitet.
Domstolen bemærkede for det første, at det omtvistede kriterium underforstået betyder at gennemgå en operation eller medicinsk behandling, der involverer en høj sandsynlighed for sterilitet. I betragtning af, at den enkeltes fysiske integritet og kønsidentitet var på spil, har Domstolen givet sagsøgte stat begrænset råderum (‘en snæver skønsmargin’). Domstolen bemærkede, at dét at gøre anerkendelse af transpersoners kønsidentitet betinget af, at de undergår en operation eller sterilisation, som de ikke ønsker, medfører en betinget opgivelse af den fulde nydelse af ens ret til respekt for privatlivet for den fysiske integritet. Domstolen fastslog, at den rimelige balance, efter hvilken de deltagende stater var forpligtet til at skelne mellem den almene interesse og hensynet til de berørte personer, ikke var blevet opretholdt. Som følge heraf er det fundet, at den betingelse, at ændringen af en persons krop skulle være irreversibel, udgjorde en mangel, som gjorde, at den sagsøgte stat ikke har opfyldt sin positive forpligtelse til at sikre retten til respekt for privatlivet. Domstolen fastslog, at der var sket en krænkelse af artikel 8 i denne henseende.

Med hensyn til betingelsen om at bevise, at man i virkeligheden led af kønsidentitetsforstyrrelse, som pålagt i fransk lovgivning for at give tilladelse til kønsskifte, bemærkede Domstolen, at der på dette område eksisterede en bred enighed blandt medlemsstaterne, og at dette kriterium ikke direkte rejser tvivl en persons fysiske integritet. Domstolen udledte heraf, at selv om den enkeltes kønsidentitet var på spil, havde staterne betydelige råderum til at beslutte, om der skal indføres en sådan tilstand. Heraf fulgte, at den sagsøgte stat ikke havde tilsidesat sin positive forpligtelse til at garantere E. Garçon ret til privatliv. Domstolen konkluderede, at der ikke havde været en overtrædelse af artikel 8 i den forbindelse.

Endelig med hensyn til forpligtelsen til at gennemgå en lægeundersøgelse, som klaget over af A.P., bemærkede Domstolen, at den anfægtede undersøgelse var blevet bestilt af en dommer som et led i indsamlingen af bevismateriale, et område hvor Domstolen har givet de deltagende stater betydelig handlefrihed. Domstolen bemærkede, at selv om den medicinske rapport medførte en genital undersøgelse og dermed mulighed for potentielle forstyrrelser i udøvelsen af sin ret til respekt for privatlivet, så var den at betragte som meget lille. Denne omstændighed har således ikke udgjort en mangel i, at den sagsøgte stat har opfyldt sin positive forpligtelse til at garantere A.P. ret til privatliv. Heraf fulgte, at der ikke havde været en overtrædelse af artikel 8 i den forbindelse.

Artikel 14 sammenholdt med artikel 8
Domstolen bemærkede, at denne del af klagen kunne realitetsbehandles. Men med henvisning til sin konklusion om overtrædelse af artikel 8 i konventionen med hensyn til E. Garçon og S. Nicot med hensyn til kravet om en irreversible ændring af deres kroppe har Domstolen ikke fundet det nødvendigt at undersøge denne klage særskilt i henhold til artikel 14 sammenholdt med artikel 8.

Artikel 6 § 1
Domstolen bemærkede, at denne del af ansøgningen kunne realitetsbehandles. Den fandt dog, at de forhold, der påklagedes af A.P. vedrørende artikel 6 § 1 ikke rejste spørgsmål, som ikke allerede havde afgjort i henhold til artikel 8. Det konkluderede derfor, at det ikke var nødvendigt at undersøge denne del af klagen.

Passende erstatning (artikel 41)
Domstolen fandt, at der i det foreliggende tilfælde med konstateringen af, at artikel 8 i konventionen var overtrådt, udgjorde en passende erstatning, men fandt det rimeligt at tildele E. Garçon og S. Nicot, hver 958,40 euro til dækning af omkostninger og udgifter.

Separat udtalelse
Dommer Ranzoni udtrykte en afvigende udtalelse. Den er vedlagt dommen.

Dommen er kun tilgængelig på fransk.

* * *
Note
  1. [Retur] I henhold til artikel 43 og 44 i konventionen, er Kammerets dom ikke er endelig. Inden for en periode på tre måneder efter domsdatoen, kan hver part anmode om, at sagen henvises til Domstolens Storkammer (Grand Chamber). Hvis en sådan anmodning fremsættes, afgør et panel på fem dommere, hvorvidt sagen fortjener yderligere undersøgelse. I så fald vil Storkammeret behandle sagen og afgive en endelig dom. Hvis anmodningen afvises, vil Kammerets dom være endelig denne dag.
    Når en dom bliver endelig, sendes den til Ministerkomitéen i Europarådet til overvågning af dens fuldbyrdelse.
    Yderligere information om fuldbyrdelsesprocessen kan findes her:
    www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution.

* * *
Der tages forbehold for oversættelsen. Ved brug som dokumentation henvises til den originale pressemeddelelse.
Tina Thranesen.

* * *
Pressemeddelelse den 6. april 2017 på engelsk fra Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol om dommen.
Dommen på fransk hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.
Omtale af dommen den 6. april 2017 fra TGEU om dommen.

Y.Y mod Tyrkiet – Applikation no. 14793/08. Ret til kønsskifteoperation og ret til anerkendelse af køn uden sterilisation. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 10. marts 2015.

Vist 0 gange. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol afsagde den 10. marts 2015 dom i sagen YY mod Tyrkiet.
Y.Y. er en transmand, som i 2005 søgte om tilladelse til at få en kønsskifteoperation, men fik afslag med den (underlige) begrundelse, at han som biologisk født kvinde var i stand til at blive gravid.
I 2013 søgte Y.Y. igen og fik denne gang tilladelse til at få sin kønsskifteoperation.
Men allerede i 2008 indbragte Y.Y. sagen for Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol med påstand om overtrædelse af artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv), artikel 6, § 1 (ret til en retfærdig rettergang) i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention.

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol konstaterede i sin dom den 10. marts 2015, at ved i mange år at nægte Y.Y. mulighed for at gennemgå en kønsskifteoperation, havde staten tilsidesat Y.Y.s ret til respekt for sit privatliv. Der havde dermed været en krænkelse af artikel 8.
Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol fandt derimod ikke, at der var sket en krænkelse af artikel 6.
Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol tilkendte Y.Y. en erstatning på 7.500 € (EUR) for ikke-økonomiske skader.

Pressemeddelelsen er noget kringlet formuleret.
Dommen må imidlertid betyde, at det både er i strid med menneskerettighederne at stille krav til transpersoner om sterilisation, kastration, kønshormonbehandling og/eller kønsskifteoperation for at anerkende deres ønskede køn
og at nægte dem adgang til kønsskifteoperation, hvis det er dét, de ønsker.

Pressemeddelelsen gengives herunder i dansk oversættelse.
Der tages forbehold for oversættelselsen. Ved brug som dokumentation henvises til den originale engelsksprogede pressemeddelelse.
Selve dommen er kun tilgængelig på fransk.
Den 12. marts 2015. Tina Thranesen.

* * *
Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstols Storkammer afsagde den 10. marts 2015 dom i sagen YY mod Tyrkiet (application nr. 14793/08).

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol fastslog enstemmigt, at der var sket en overtrædelse af artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv) i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention.

Sagen vedrørte et afslag fra de tyrkiske myndigheder om at give tilladelse til en kønsskifteoperation med den begrundelse, at den transseksuelle, der havde ansøgt derom, ikke var permanent ude af stand til at formere sig.

Domstolen gentog, at transseksuelles mulighed for at have fuldt udbytte af retten til personlig udvikling og fysisk og psykisk integritet ikke kunne betragtes som et kontroversielt forhold. Domstolen fandt, at selv om det antages, at afslaget på sagsøgerens oprindelige ansøgning om tilladelse til en sådan operation havde været baseret på et relevant grundlag, var afslaget ikke baseret på en tilstrækkelig grundlag.
Det resulterende indgreb i ansøgerens ret til respekt for sit privatliv kunne ikke betragtes som “nødvendigt” i et demokratisk samfund.
Ved i mange år at nægte ansøgeren mulighed for at få en sådan operation, havde staten tilsidesat ansøgerens ret til respekt for sit privatliv.

Principielle kendsgerninger
Sagsøgeren, YY, er en tyrkisk statsborger, der på tidspunktet for ansøgningen var registreret som værende af kvindekøn.

Tidligt i livet blev Y.Y. bevidst om en følelse af mere at være en dreng end en pige, uanset anatomisk forhold.

Den 30. september 2005 ansøgte Y.Y. om tilladelse til en kønsskifteoperation hos Mersin distriktdomstol. Distriktdomstolen bad overlægen på hospitalet, hvor ansøgeren var blevet behandlet på en psykiatrisk afdeling, om oplysninger for at finde ud af, om ansøgeren var transseksuel, og om kønsskiftet var nødvendig for ansøgerens psykiske sundhed. Domstolen spurgte endvidere, om Y.Y. var permanent ude af stand til at formere sig.

Den 23. februar 2006 konkluderedes det i en psykiatrisk rapport fra hospitalet, at YY var transseksuel, og at det fra et psykologisk synspunkt, ville det være bedre for ansøgeren at leve som mand. En anden rapport fastslog, at Y.Y. var af kvindelig fænotype (en persons synlige og fysiske fremtræden og egenskaber) og transseksuel. Trods dette fandt domstolen, at ingen af disse rapporter besvarede spørgsmålet, om et kønsskifte var nødvendigt for at sikre ansøgerens psykiske sundhed, og om ansøgeren permanent var ude af stand til at formere sig. En af direktørerne på hospitalet udtalte i april 2006, at YY ikke var permanent ude af stand til at
formere sig.

Den 27. juni 2006 afviste distriktsdomstolen Y.Y.’s ansøgning om kønsskifte, idet ansøgeren ikke var permanent ude af stand til at formere sig, og derfor ikke opfylder et af de krav, der var fastsat i § 40 i den civile retsplejelov.

Ansøgeren ankede afslaget til en højere retsinstans.

Den højere retsinstans stadfæstede distriktdomstolens afgørelse, og ansøgerens advokats anmodning om en ny retssag blev ligeledes afvist.

Den 5. marts 2013 indgav Y.Y. påny en ansøgning om tilladelse til en kønsskifteoperation med henvisning til artikel 40 i den borgerlige retsplejelov.
Den 21. maj 2013 gav distriktdomstolen tilladelse til kønsskifteoperationen, idet den fandt det godtgjort, at Y.Y. var transseksuel, og at hensynet til ansøgerens psykiske helbred krævede et kønsskifte, samt at vidneudsagn havde godtgjort, at ansøgeren i enhver henseende levede som en mand og led under sin nuværende situation som anført i artikel 40, § 2 i den borgerlige retsplejelov, hvorfor betingelserne var opfyldt, og ansøgningn kunne imødekommes.

Klager, procedure og sammensætningen af Retten
Under henvisning navnlig til artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv), har sagsøgeren klaget over tilsidesættelse af hans ret til respekt for sit privatliv. Han fremførte, at uoverensstemmelsen mellem hans opfattelse af sig selv som en mand og hans fysiske tilstand var bekræftet af lægeerklæringer, og han klagede over afslagene fra de nationale myndigheder for at få fjernet begrundelsen, at han stadig var i stand til at formere sig. Han kritiserede betingelserne i artikel 40 i den civile retsplejelov med den begrundelse, at det biologiske krav om at være steril kun kunne opfyldes ved, at han frivilligt lod sig sterilisere. Personers manglende mulighed for at få en sådan operation, fratager dem permanent enhver mulighed for kønsskifte.

Under henvisning til artikel 6, § 1 (ret til en retfærdig rettergang) har ansøgeren også klaget over, at den overordnede domstol ikke havde analyseret sagens indhold og havde undladt at begrunde sine beslutninger.
Ansøgningen blev indgivet til Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 6. marts 2008.

Dommen blev afsagt af en afdeling med syv dommere, sammensat således:
Guido Raimondi (Italien), formand
Isil Karakas (Tyrkiet),
Nebojša Vu?ini? (Montenegro),
Helen Keller (Schweiz),
Paul Lemmens (Belgien),
Egidijus Küris (Litauen),
Robert Spano (Island),
og Abel Campos, assisterende justitssekretær.

Domstolens afgørelse
Artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv)
Den foreliggende sag rejste spørgsmålet om de betingelser for processen for kønsskifte, som kan pålægges transseksuelle, og om sådanne betingelser overholder artikel 8 i konventionen.

Domstolen henviste til sine tidligere konklusioner om, at det på internationalt plan var almindeligt anerkendt, at transseksualitet var en medicinsk tilstand, der berettigede til behandling for at hjælpe de pågældende personer.

Domstolen fandt, at distriktdomstolens afgørelse af 27. juni 2006 var baseret på artikel 40 i den borgerlige retsplejelov. Det bemærkes, at den tyrkiske lov yder transseksuelle, der opfylder lovgivningens krav, ret til ikke blot at skifte køn, men også til juridisk anerkendelse af deres nye køn gennem ændring af deres civilstand. Artikel 40 i den borgerlige retsplejelov anfører dog muligheden for, at en permanent manglende evne til at formere sig – en betingelse, som ikke er opfyldt i den foreliggende sag, hvilket førte til afslag på ansøgerens anmodning.

Regeringen gjorde gældende, at reguleringen af kønsskifteoperation faldt inden for beskyttelse af den almene interesse og forsøgte at forhindre, at sådanne operationer blev hverdagskost eller uretmæssigt blev brugt af sexindustrien. Domstolen blev ikke overbevist af de argumenter. Men der er ikke tvivl om at ved at vedtage en sådan lovgivning, havde regeringen forfulgte det legitime formål at beskytte sundheden og hensynet til de berørte personer, ved at henvise til de risici, sådanne operationer indebærer for deres fysiske og psykiske sundhed.

Retten bemærkede, at sagen ved de nationale domstole direkte havde berørt ansøgerens frihed til at bestemme sit køn – en frihed, som var en væsentlig del af retten til selvbestemmelse. Domstolen har ved mange lejligheder udtalt, at den var klar over seriøsiteten i de transseksuelles problemer, og understreget vigtigheden af permanent at vurdere behovet for passende retlige foranstaltninger. Det var væsentligt, at konventionen fortolkedes og anvendtes på en retfærdig, praktisk og effektiv måde. Hvis Domstolen undlod en dynamisk og fremtidsorienteret tilgang, kunne det modvirke enhver reform eller forbedring.

Som Domstolen tidligere har bemærket, lægger den mindre vægt på manglende dokumentation for en fælles Europæisk tilgang til løsningen af de juridiske og praktiske problemer, end til de klare og ubestridte tendenser på en stadig international tendens for øget social accept af transseksuelle og juridisk anerkendelse af det nye køn hos kønsskifteopererede transseksuelle. Domstolen gentog, at transseksuelles
ret til personlig udvikling og til fysisk og psykisk sundhed på samme måde, som andre i samfundet nyder godt af, ikke kunne betragtes modstridende forhold. I den forbindelse understregedes det, at i tillægget til henstilling CM/Rec(2010)5 havde Ministerkomitéen i Europarådet erklæret, at tidligere krav om juridisk anerkendelse af et kønsskifte regelmæssigt bør revideres for at fjerne urimelige krav. Desuden havde Den
Parlamentariske Forsamling
i Europarådet bl.a. opfordret medlemsstaterne til at garantere disse personers ret til, at officielle dokumenter angiver deres valgte køn, uden nogen forudgående krav om sterilisation eller andre medicinske procedurer, såsom en kønsskifteoperation eller hormonbehandling.

Domstolen bemærkede endvidere, at visse medlemsstater for nylig havde ændret deres lovgivning eller praksis med hensyn til adgangen til kønskiftebehandling og juridisk anerkendelse deraf ved fjerne kravet om infertilitet eller sterilitet.

Domstolen gentog, at alvorlige indgreb i privatlivets fred kan opstå, hvor staten i nationale love er i modstrid med et vigtigt aspekt af personlig identitet. I betragtning af de mange og smertefulde indgreb en sådan operation består af, kunne det ikke påstås, at en persons beslutning om at gennemgå et kønsskifte var en lunefuld beslutning.

Retten bemærkede, at de nationale domstole havde begrundet deres oprindelige afvisning af sagsøgerens anmodning ved, at han ikke var i stand til at formere sig. Domstolen kunne ikke forstå, hvorfor en manglende evne til at formere sig, skulle etableres for en person, der ønsker at skifte køn, før den fysiske kønsskifteproces kunne gennemføres. Domstolen kunne ikke se, hvordan sagsøgeren, undtagen ved sterilisation, kunne have opfyldt kravet om permanent infertilitet.

Under alle omstændigheder har Domstolen ikke fundet det nødvendigt at tage stilling til spørgsmålet om sagsøgerens adgang til medicinsk behandling, der ville have gjort det muligt ham at opfylde dette krav. Domstolen indtog det synspunkt, at princippet om respekt for ansøgerens fysiske integritet udelukkede enhver forpligtelse for ham til at gennemgå behandling med henblik på permanent sterilitet. Domstolen fandt, at selv om det antages, at afvisningen af den oprindelige ansøgning om tilladelse til kønsskifteoperation var baseret på en relevant grund, var den ikke baseret på en tilstrækkelig begrundelse. Den resulterende interferens for sagsøgerens ret til respekt for sit privatliv, kunne derfor ikke anses for “nødvendig” i et demokratisk samfund.
Ændringen af tilgangen til sagen hos Mersin distriktdomstol i maj 2013 gav ansøgeren tilladelse til en operation, selv om han stadig havde evnen til at formere sig, støttede denne holdning.

Ved i mange år at nægte sagsøgeren mulighed for at gennemgå en sådan operation, havde staten tilsidesat sagsøgerens ret til respekt for sit privatliv. Retten har således konstateret, at der havde været en krænkelse af artikel 8.

Artikel 6 § 1 (ret til en retfærdig rettergang)
Domstolen gentog, at artikel 6, § 1 ikke krævede, at en domstol i sine begrundelser omtaler alle de punkter, som en af parterne anser for grundlæggende for hans eller hendes argumenter.
Desuden fandt Domstolen, at den højere retsinstans havde begrundet sine beslutninger og tilsluttet sig underrettens grunde. Klagen blev derfor fundet ugrundet og afvist.

Artikel 41 (kun tilfredshed)
Domstolen fastslog, at Tyrkiet skulle betale sagsøgeren 7.500 € (EUR) for ikke-økonomiske skader.

Dommen er kun tilgængelig på fransk.

Pressemeddelelsen i pdf-format hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol – på engelsk.
Dommen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol – findes kun på fransk.

H. mod Finland – Application no. 37359/09. Ændring af personnummer. Den Europæiske den 13. november 2012.

Vist 22 gange. Sagen H. mod Finland – Application no. 37359/09 – blev indbragte for Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol af H., idet de finske myndigheder kun ville ændre hendes personnummer fra et mandligt til et kvindeligt og dermed reelt anerkende hendes mand til kvinde kønsskifte, hvis hendes og hustruens ægteskab ændredes til et registret partnerskab. Hun henviste til artiklerne 8 og 14 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention.

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol afsagde dom i sagen den 13. november 2012.
Spring til dommen.

Klageren blev født i 1963 som mand, men har altid følt sig som kvinde. I 1996 giftede hun sig med en kvinde, og i 2002 fik de sammen et barn.
I 2004 fik hun det dårligere, og i 2005 søgte hun lægehjælp. I 2006 blev hun diagnostiseret som transseksuel og har siden levet som kvinde. Den 29. september 2009 fik hun foretaget en mand til kvinde kønsskifteoperation.
Den 7. juni 2006 ændrede hun sit fornavn og fik dette indført i sit pas og kørekort. Hun kunne imidlertid ikke få ændret sit personnummer og sin kønsbetegnelse, der stadig anfører hende som mand.

I perioden fra 2007 til 2009 blev sagen behandlet af alle tilgængelige retsinstanser, som i kort form omtale herunder.

Den 12. juni 2007 anmodede hun retten om at bekræfte, at hun var kvinde, og om at få ændret sit mandlige personnummer ændret til et kvindeligt.

Den 19. juni 2007 afviste retten hendes anmodning. Da hun var gift, og hverken hun eller hustruen ville skilles eller konvertere deres ægteskab til et registreret partnerskab, kunne det nye køn ikke indføres i folkeregistret.

Den 6. juli 2007 ankede hun afgørelsen til en højere retsinstans.

Den 5. maj 2008 afgjorde den højere retsinstans anken med samme begrundelse som den første retsinstans.

Den 8. maj 2008 ankede hun afgørelsen af 5. maj 2008 til den øverste administrative domstol. Hun anmodede endvidere om, at der inden afgørelsen blev rettet forespørgsel til EU-Domstolen om fortolkningen af artikel 8 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention.

Den 3. februar 2009 afviste den øverste administrative domstol hendes anke.

Den 29. oktober 2009 indgav hun endnu en anke til den øverste administrative domstol med anmodning om, at afvisningen af 3. februar 2009 blev omgjort, så sagen kunne behandles.

Den 18. oktober 2010 afviste den øverste administrative domstol hendes anke af 29. oktober 2009.

Den 29. august 2007 ansøgte hun Folkpensionsanstalten om refusion af udgifterne til kønshormonerne, som var en del af hendes behandling.

Den 5. oktober 2007 afviste Folkpensionsanstalten hendes ansøgning, idet hun skulle have et nyt personnummer, inden hun var berettiget til refusion.

Den 11. oktober 2007 klagede hun til den sociale ankestyrelse over afgørelsen fra Folkpensionsanstalten.

Den 21. januar 2010 omgjorde den sociale ankestyrelse afgørelsen af 5. oktober 2007og bestemte, at hun var berettiget til at få refunderet sine udgifter til kønshormoner.
Da denne afgørelse ikke blev anket, var den endelig.

På et ukendt tidspunkt klagede hun til Ombudsmanden for ligestilling over, at hun ikke kan få et nyt kvindeligt personnummer.

Den 30. september 2008 meddelte Ombudsmanden for ligestilling, at hun ikke kunne tage stilling til sagen, da den verserede ved domstolene.

* * *
Den 13. november 2012 afsagde Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol dom i sagen. [Retur] Sagen startede oprindeligt ved Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 8. juli 2009 med påstand om overtrædelse af artikel 8 og artikel 14 i konventionen.
Den 23. marts 2010 besluttede Domstolen også at behandle sagen i henhold til artikel 12 i konventionen.

Domskonklusionen
Vedrørende artikel 8 i konventionen – Ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv.
I dommen anføres det, at godt nok udsættes klageren for problemer på grund af, at hendes personnummer og hendes køn efter kønsskiftet ikke svarer overens, men hun havde mulighed for at få ændret sit ægteskab til et registreret partnerskab.
Den finske lov tillader ikke ægteskab mellem to personer af samme køn, men da der er mulighed for to personer af samme køn at indgå i et registreret partnerskab, findes det ikke at stride mod artikel 8 i konventionen.

Vedrørende artikel 12 i konventionen – Ret til at indgå ægteskab.
I dommen anføres det, at klageren har været lovformligt gift siden 1996. Da forholdet allerede er behandlet i relation til artikel 8, findes det ikke nødvendigt at behandle det i relation til artikel 12.

Vedrørende artikel 14 i konventionen – Forbud mod diskriminering.
I dommen anføres det, at klagerens situation med hensyn til personnummeret ikke kan sammenlignes med enhver anden persons herunder ikke-transkønnede eller ugifte transkønnede personers situation, og da den finske lov ikke tillader ægteskab mellem to personer af samme køn, har hun ikke været udsat for diskrimination, hvorfor der ikke er sket overtrædelse af artikel. 14.

Vedrørende artikel 3 – Forbud mod tortur – og artikel 2 i protokol nr. 4 i konventionen – Frihed til valg af opholdssted.
Klageren havde også anført, at ved at komplicere den juridiske side af hendes kønsskifte, havde de finske myndigheder gjort sig skyldig i tortur mod hende.
Klageren havde yderlig anført, at den forkerte kønsangivelse i hendes pas gjorde umuligt for hende at rejse, hvorved hendes frihed til valg af opholdssted var krænket.
I dommen anføres, at disse punkter afvistes som klart grundløse.

En enstemmig domstol bestemte:
  1. Klagerne vedrørende artiklerne 8, 12 og 14 i konventionen kunne realitetsbehandles, medens de øvrige klagepunkter afvistes.
  2. Der har ikke været nogen overtrædelse af artikel 8 i konventionen.
  3. Der har ikke været nogen overtrædelse af artikel 14 sammenholdt med artikel 8 i konventionen.
  4. Der har ikke været behov for at undersøge sagen i relation til artikel 12 i konventionen.

Dommen i sin helhed på engelsk hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.
Pressemeddelelse af 13. november 2012 på engelsk fra Heli Hämäläinen, som sagen drejer sig om. I pressemeddelelsen udtrykte hun skuffelse over dommen, selv om hun godt kunne se logikken i den – nemlig den finske lovgivning, der ikke tillader ægteskab mellem to personer af samme køn.

Domsoversigt marts 2012 fra Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol over sager om transforhold.

Vist 24 gange.
Domsoversigten gengives herunder alene med sagsnavn, journalnummer (Application no.) og dato (for afgørelse af sagen).
Samtlige sager er omtalt i Vidensbanken. Linket i første linje (xx mod yy) fører til omtalen.
  1. Rees mod The United Kingdom
    Application no. 9532/81
    Dom den 17. oktober 1986.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  2. Cossey mod the United Kingdom
    Application no. 10843/84
    Dom den 27. september 1990.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  3. X, Y og Z mod The United Kingdom
    Application no. 21830/93
    Dom den 22. april 1997.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  4. B. mod Frankrig
    Application no. 13343/87
    Dom den 25. marts 1992.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  5. Sheffield og Horsham mod the United Kingdom
    Application Number 22985/93 og 23390/94
    Dom den 30. juli 1998.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  6. Christine Goodwin mod The United Kingdom
    Application no. 28957/95
    Dom – pressemeddelelse om dommen den 11. juli 2002.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  7. Wena og Anita Parry mod the United Kingdom
    Application no. 42971/05
    Kendelse den 28. november 2006.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  8. R. og F. mod the United Kingdom
    Application no. 35748/05
    Kendelse den 28. november 2006.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  9. Schlumpf mod Switzerland
    Application no. 29002/06
    Dom den 9. januar 2009.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol i pdf-format.

  10. P.V. mod Spanien
    Application no. 35159/09
    Dom den 30. november 2010.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.
    Kun på fransk.

  11. Y. Y. mod Tyrkiet
    Application no. 14793/08
    Sagen retur til Tyrkiet marts 2010.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.
    Kun på fransk.

  12. H mod Finland
    Application no. 37359/09
    Sagen retur til Finland den april 2010.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

  13. Sheffield og Horsham mod the United Kingdom
    Application No. 22985/93 og 23390/94
    Dom den 30. juli 1998.
    Se sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Domsoversigten i pdf-format.

Primo september 2013 har Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol udsendt en nyrevideret fortegnelse.

P.V. mod Spanien – Application no. 35159/09. Transseksuels samkvem med søn. ved Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den18. juni 2009. Dom den 30. november 2010.

Vist 41 gange.
Sagen P.V. mod Spanien.
Sagen blev indgivet til Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 18. juni 2009 og journaliseret under application no. 35159/09.

Den 30. november 2010 offentliggjorde justitssekretæren ved Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol en pressemeddelelse om, at domstolen samme dag havde afsagt dom i sagen.

Domstolen fastslog,
at begrænsningen af samkvemsarrangementerne ikke havde medført forskelsbehandling på grund af sagsøgerens transseksualitet, og konkluderede, at der ikke var sket nogen overtrædelse af artikel 8 sammenholdt med artikel 14.

Pressemeddelelse udsendt af justitssekretæren ved Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol

Nr. 910.
30.november 2010.

Begrænsning af samværsarrangement mellem en transseksuel og hendes seks-årige søn var bedst for barnets tarv.

I dagens dom truffet af kammeret [a] i sagen om P.V. mod Spanien (ansøgning nr. 35159/09), som ikke er endelig, [1b] fastslog Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol enstemmigt:

Der havde ikke været nogen overtrædelse af artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privat- og familieliv) sammenholdt med artikel 14 (forbud mod forskelsbehandling) i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention.

Principielle fakta
Sagsøgeren, P.V. er en spansk statsborger, som er født i 1976 og bor i Lugo (Spanien). Hun er en mand til kvinde transseksuel, der forud for sit kønsskifte, fik en søn med P.Q.F. i 1998. Da de blev separeret i 2002, godkendte dommeren en mindelig aftale, de havde indgået, hvorved forældremyndigheden over barnet blev tildelt til moderen og forældreansvar til begge forældre i fællesskab. Aftalen indebar en samkvemsordning om, at barnet hver anden weekend og halvdelen af skolens ferie skulle tilbringes hos sagsøgeren.

I maj 2004 ansøgte P.Q.F. om, at P.V. blev frataget forældreansvaret, og at samkvemsordningen og enhver mellem faderen og barnet blev suspenderet med den begrundelse, at faderen havde udvist manglende interesse for barnet, og tilføjede, at P.V. var midt i hormonbehandling med henblik på at kønsskifte og som regel bar makeup og var klædt som en kvinde. P.Q.F.’s ansøgning blev afvist for så vidt angik det første punkt.

Hvad angik kontakt arrangementer besluttede dommeren at begrænse dem i stedet suspendere dem helt. Da den sædvanlige samkvemsordning ikke kunne gennemføres på grund af P.V.’s manglende følelsesmæssige stabilitet, blev samkvemmet ændret til et tre-timers møde hver anden lørdag “indtil [P.V.] havde fået foretaget kønsskifteoperation og var kommet sig fuldstændigt fysisk. Dommeren påpegede, at P.V. var begyndt kønsskifteprocessen kun få måneder tidligere, og at den medførte vidtrækkende ændringer i alle aspekter af hendes liv og personlighed og dermed en følelsesmæssig ustabilitet – en karakteristisk påpeget af psykologen i dennes erklæring.

Denne beslutning blev stadfæstet af Audiencia Provincial, som gentog, at almindelige samkvemsordninger kunne underminere barnets følelsesmæssige stabilitet. Barnet skulle gradvist vænne sig til sin fars beslutning, hvilket han var i færd med at gøre, da de havde et følelsesmæssigt godt forhold. Hvad angår sagsøgerens indvending mod psykologen, der havde udarbejdet rapporten, der blev fremlagt i Audiencia Provincial, konstateredes det, at indvendingen ikke var fremført i tide.

Samkvemsordningen blev forlænget i februar 2006 til fem timer hver anden søndag og senere, i november 2006, til cirka otte timer hver anden lørdag og hver anden søndag.

I december 2008 blev en Amparo [c] appel fra sagsøgeren afvist. Forfatningsdomstolen fastslog, at grunden til at begrænse samkvemsordning ikke havde været P.V.’s transseksualitet, men hendes manglende følelsesmæssige stabilitet, som havde medført en reel og betydelig risiko for at forstyrre hendes søns følelsesmæssige trivsel og udviklingen af hans personlighed – i betragtning af, at sønnen var seks år gammel på tidspunkt for den sagkyndiges rapport – og fasen af hans udvikling på daværende tidspunkt. Domstolen fastslog, at med denne beslutning, havde de retslige myndigheder taget hensyn til barnets tarv og vægtet disse mod forældrenes, og ikke til P.V.’s status som transseksuel.

Klager, procedure og sammensætning af Retten
Med henvisning til artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privat- og familieliv) sammenholdt med artikel 14 (forbud mod forskelsbehandling) har sagsøgeren klaget over de restriktioner bestemt af en dommer om samkvem med sin søn med den begrundelse, at hendes manglende følelsesmæssige stabilitet efter kønsskiftet var egnet til at forurolige barnet, der havde været seks år gammel på det tidspunkt.

Ansøgningen blev indgivet til Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 18. juni 2009.

Dommen blev givet ved i et kammer med syv dommere sammensat således:
Josep Casadevall (Andorra), præsident,
Elisabet Fura (Sverige),
Corneliu Bîrsan (Rumænien),
Bostjan M. Zupancic (Slovenien),
Alvina Gyulumyan (Zupancic ),
Egbert Myjer (Nederlandene),
Luis López Guerra (Spanien), dommere
og Santiago Quesada, justitssekretær.

Domstolens afgørelse
Retten var enig i, at da de havde erfaret om P.V.’s kønslige følelsesmæssig ustabilitet, havde de spanske domstole vedtaget samkvemsarrangementer, som var mindre gunstige for hende, end dem, der er fastsat i separationsaftalen.

Domstolen understregede, at selv om der ikke var tale om seksuel orientering var sagsøgerens tilfælde, transseksualitet, et begreb, der var omfattet af artikel 14, der indeholdt en ikke-udtømmende liste over forbudte grunde til forskelsbehandling.

Medens følelsesmæssig forstyrrelse ikke var blevet betragtet som en tilstrækkelig grund til at begrænse samkvemmet, havde den afgørende begrundelse for begrænsningen været risiko for at forstyrre barnets psykiske trivsel og udviklingen af hans personlighed. Desuden var P.V.’s manglende følelsesmæssige stabilitet blevet bemærket i en psykologisk sagkyndig erklæring, som hun havde haft lejlighed til at gøre indsigelse mod.

I stedet for at suspendere samkvemmet helt, havde dommeren fastsat et gradueret samkvem og vurdere situationen hver anden måned på grundlag af erklæringer. Fra et tre-timers møde hver anden uge under professionel overvågning, blev samkvemsordninger i sidste ende forlænget til otte timer hver anden lørdag og hver anden søndag. Det altoverskyggende faktor i beslutningen havde været barnets tarv og ikke sagsøgerens transseksualitet, idet målet var, at barnet gradvist kunne blive vant til sin fars kønsskifte. Domstolen bemærkede endvidere, at samkvemsordningerne var blevet forlænget, selv om der ikke havde været nogen ændring i ansøgerens kønsstatus i denne periode.

Retten fandt derfor, at begrænsningen af samkvemsarrangementerne ikke havde medført forskelsbehandling på grund af sagsøgerens transseksualitet og konkluderede, at der ikke var sket nogen overtrædelse af artikel 8 sammenholdt med artikel 14.

Dommen er kun tilgængelig på fransk.

Denne pressemeddelelse er udarbejdet af justitssekretæren. Den er ikke bindende for Domstolen.

Noter

  1. [Retur] I henhold til artikel 43 og 44 i konventionen er kammerets dom ikke er endelig. I tre måneder efter afsigelsen, kan enhver part anmode om, at sagen henvises til Store Afdeling i Retten. Hvis en sådan anmodning fremsættes, vil et panel bestående af fem dommere afgøre om sagen fortjener yderligere undersøgelse. I så fald vil den store afdeling behandle sagen og afgive en endelig dom. Hvis anmodningen om henvisning afvises, vil dommen blive endelig den pågældende dag.
    Når en dom er endelig, fremsendes den til Europarådets juridiske afdeling for tilsyn med dens gennemførelse.

Noter af Tina Thranesen

  1. [Retur] Når Menneskerettighedsdomstolen har modtaget en klage, er det i første omgang Domstolens sekretariat, der ser på sagen.
    Klagen vil herefter blive behandlet i en komité på 3 dommere, eller i et kammer der består af 7 dommere.
  2. [Retur] Hvis staten eller klageren mener, at kammerets dom er forkert, kan de hver især inden 3 måneder efter den dag, hvor dommen er afsagt, anmode om, at sagen indbringes for Storkammeret.
    Et udvalg på 5 af Storkammerets dommere skal derefter beslutte, om sagen skal indbringes for Storkammeret. Det skal den, hvis udvalget mener, at sagen rejser et væsentligt spørgsmål om fortolkningen eller anvendelsen af konventionen eller protokollerne, eller at den vedrører et væsentligt emne af generel vigtighed.
    Godkender udvalget en anmodning om, at sagen indbringes for Storkammeret, vil Storkammerets dom være den endelige afgørelse af sagen.
    Hvis udvalget ikke mener, at sagen rejser væsentlige spørgsmål eller vedrører et væsentligt emne, er kammerets dom den endelige afgørelse af klagesagen. Det er kammerets dom også, hvis klagesagens parter ikke inden udløbet af fristen på 3 måneder har bedt om, at sagen henvises til Storkammeret.
  3. [Retur] En særlig forfatningsmæssig retsordning til beskyttelse af forfatningsmæssige rettigheder, som især findes i spansktalende lande.

Der tages forbehold for eventuelle oversættelsesfejl. Ved brug til dokumentation henvises til den originale engelsprogede pressemeddelse.
Tina Thranesen.

Pressemeddelelsen i pdf-format.
Dommen på fransk.

Schlumpf mod Schweiz – Application no. 29002/06. Om retfærdig rettergang, toårig observationsperiode og ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 9. januar 2009.

Vist 0 gange. Nadine Schlumpf fik afslag fra sygeforsikringsselskabet om at betale omkostningerne ved hendes kønsskifteoperation med den begrundelse, at hun ikke havde overholdt en toårig observationsperiode og ikke fik tilladelse til at føre lægelige vidner under retssagen i Schweiz, indbragte sagen for Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Dommen findes kun på fransk.
Der findes et resume på engelsk, som herunder bringes i dansk oversættelse af Tina Thranesen. Der tages forbehold for oversættelsen. Ved brug som dokumentation henvises til det originale resumé. Tina Thranesen.

Domstolen udtalte:
  • enstemmigt, at der havde været en overtrædelse af artikel 6 § 1 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention med hensyn til retten til en retfærdig rettergang;
  • enstemmigt, at der havde været en overtrædelse af artikel 6, § 1 som vidt angår retten til en offentlig høring;
  • med fem stemmer for, at der havde været en overtrædelse af artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv).

I overensstemmelse med artikel 41 i konventionen (kun tilfredshed), tildelte Domstolen sagsøgeren om 15.000 € (EUR) for ikke-økonomisk skade og 8.000 € (EUR) til omkostninger og udgifter.

1. Vigtigste fakta
Sagsøgeren, Nadine Schlumpf, er en schweizisk statsborger, der blev født i 1937 og bor i Aarau, Schweiz. Hun blev ved fødslen registreret under navnet Max Schlumpf af hankøn.

Sagen vedrørte sagsøgerens sygeforsikringsselskab afslag på at betale omkostningerne ved hendes kønsskifteoperation med den begrundelse, at hun ikke havde overholdt en toårig observationsperiode for at give mulighed for en revurdering som retspraksis kræver i Federal Insurance Court (Den føderale forsikringsdomstol) som betingelse for udbetaling af omkostningerne ved sådanne operationer.

Sagsøgeren fremførte, at den psykologiske lidelse forårsaget af hendes kønsidentitetsforstyrrelse gik helt langt tilbage til barndommen og gentagne havde gange havde bragt hende til randen af selvmord. På trods af alt og selv om hun var cirka 40 år og var sikker på at være transseksuel, havde hun accepteret sit ansvar som mand og far, indtil hendes børn var vokset op, og hendes kone var død af kræft i 2002.
Sagsøgeren besluttede i 2002 at skifte køn, og fra da af levede hun som en kvinde. Hun begyndte hormonbehandling og psykiatriske og endokrinologiske behandlinger i 2003.

En eksperterklæring fra en læge i oktober 2004 bekræftede diagnosen mand til kvinde transseksualitet og erklærede, at ansøgeren opfyldte betingelserne for en kønsskifteoperation.

I november 2004 anmodede sagsøgeren SWICA, hendes sygeforsikringsselskaber, om at betale omkostningerne til kønsskifteoperation, og vedlagde en kopi af eksperterklæringen.
Den 29. november 2004 afviste SWICA at refundere omkostninger og bemærkede, at i henhold til retspraksis i Federal Insurance Court, den obligatoriske klausul om tilbagebetaling af omkostningerne til en kønsskifteoperation, som sygeforsikringer skulle omfatte, kun anvendes i tilfælde af “ægte transseksualitet”, som ikke kunne fastslås, før der havde været en observationsperiode på to år.

Den 30. november 2004 gennemgik sagsøgeren alligevel en vellykket operation.
I midten af december 2004 ansøgte hun på ny SWICA om refusion, men blev igen afvist.

I slutningen af januar 2005 påklagede sagsøgeren forgæves over denne afgørelse. Hun forsøgte at vise, at med det niveau lægevidenskaben havde nået, var det muligt at identificere sande tilfælde af transseksualitet uden at vente i to år. Hun foreslog også, at Senior Consultant i Zürich Psychiatric Clinic blev bedt om at afgive vidneforklaring i forbindelse med en yderligere undersøgelse.

Den 14. februar 2005 blev sagsøgeren civilstand ændret for at svare til hendes kønsskifteoperation, og hun blev registreret under fornavnet Nadine.

I begyndelsen af april 2005 påklagede sagsøgeren afslaget til den kantonale forsikringsdomstol og bad om en offentlig høring. Da den kantonale forsikringsdomstol informerede hende om muligheden for at sende sagen tilbage til sygeforsikringsselskabet for yderligere en undersøgelse, frafaldt sagsøgeren denne klagen, men tilkendegav, at frafaldet ikke gjaldt, hvis sagen skulle for Federal Insurance Court eller Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

I juni 2005, uden at have afholdt et retsmøde, afviste den kantonale forsikringsdomstol sygeforsikringsselskabets afvisning af at betale omkostningerne til kønsskifteoperationen og hjemviste sagen til en yderligere undersøgelse og revurdering.

I juli 2005 appelleret SWICA til Federal Insurance Court og påstod, at den kantonale forsikringsdomstol havde tilsidesat Federal Insurance Courts retspraksis om, at omkostningerne kun kunne refunderes efter en periode på to år og anførte desuden, at eksistensen af en sygdom ikke var blevet konstateret.

I september 2005 anmodede sagsøgeren udtrykkeligt Federal Insurance Court om en offentlig høring, og anmodede om, at det sagkyndige vidne skulle besvare spørgsmål om behandling af transseksualitet. Hendes anmodning blev afvist, bl.a. fordi Federal Insurance Court fandt, at de relevante spørgsmål var af juridisk art, hvorfor en offentlig høring ikke var nødvendig. Federal Insurance Court bekræftede også relevansen af den toårige observationsperiode. Det bemærkes, at på trods af hvad forskellige eksperter havde fremlagt under sagen og niveauet moderne lægevidenskab havde nået, var forsigtighed af afgørende betydning, navnlig i betragtning af, at operationen var irreversibel og ønsket om at undgå uberettigede operationer.

Federal Insurance Court bemærkede, at på tidspunktet for operationen, havde ansøgeren været under psykiatrisk observation i mindre end to år, og fastslog, at sygeforsikringsselskabet havde været berettiget til at nægte at refundere omkostninger.

2. Procedure og sammensætningen af Domstolen
Ansøgningen blev indgivet til Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 7. juli 2006.
Dommen blev afsagt af en afdeling med syv dommere, sammensat således:
Christos Rozakis (Grækenland) retspræsident, og dommerne Nina Vaji? (Kroatien), Khanlar Hajiyev (Aserbajdsjan), Dean Spielmann (Luxembourg), Sverre Erik Jebens (Norge), Giorgio Malinverni (Schweiz), George Nicolaou (Cypern), samt retssekretær Søren Nielsen.

3. Sammendrag af dommen
Klager
Med henvisning til artikel 6 § 1 (ret til en retfærdig rettergang) har sagsøgeren klagede over en krænkelse af hendes ret til en retfærdig rettergang og til en offentlig høring. Hun hævdede endvidere, at der i strid med artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatlivet) ikke var sket en rimelig afvejning mellem hendes og sygeforsikringsselskabets interesser.

Domstolens afgørelse
Artikel 6 § 1
Domstolen fandt, at det var urimeligt ikke at acceptere ekspertudtalelser, især da det ikke var i ubestridt, at sagsøgeren var syg. Ved at nægte sagsøgeren mulighed at føre et sådant bevis, på grundlag af en abstrakt regel, som havde sin oprindelse i to af deres egne beslutninger i 1988, havde Federal Insurance Court erstattet sin opfattelse i stedet for den medicinske professions, selv om Federal Insurance Court tidligere havde fastslået, at afgørelsen om behovet for kønsskifteoperationen ikke var et spørgsmål om retslig vurdering.

Domstolen fastslog, at sagsøgerens ret til en retfærdig rettergang hos Federal Insurance Court var blevet tilsidesat i strid med artikel 6 § 1.

Domstolen gentog, at den offentlige karakter af en retssag var et grundlæggende princip i ethvert demokratisk samfund og understregede en parts ret til en offentlig høring ved mindst en instans. Det bemærkedes, at sagsøgeren ikke kunne anses for at have givet afkald på retten til en offentlig høring i Federal Insurance Court.

Domstolen bemærkede, at da spørgsmålet om sagsøgerens kønsskifteoperation ikke udelukkende var en juridisk eller teknisk sag, og i betragtning af uenighed mellem parterne med hensyn til nødvendigheden af observationsperioden, var en offentlig høring nødvendig.

Derfor fastslog Domstolen, at sagsøgerens ret til en offentlig høring i strid med artikel 6 § 1 ikke var blevet overholdt.

Artikel 8
Den schweiziske regering fremførte, at for at begrænse sygeforsikringsomkostningerne i almenhedens interesse var det nødvendigt at sætte grænser for de ydelser, der skal refunderes. Sagsøgeren fremførte, at hendes alder berettigede til en undtagelse og hævdede, at hun ikke havde været vidende om kravet om en toårig observationsperiode før efter operationen.

Domstolen fandt, at fristen på to år, især henset til ansøgerens alder af 67 år, var egnet til at påvirke hendes beslutning, om hvorvidt hun skulle have operationen, og dermed skade hendes frihed til at bestemme sin kønsidentitet.

Domstolen påpegede, at konventionen garanterer retten til personlig selvrealisering og gentog, at begrebet “privatliv” kunne omfatte aspekter af kønsidentitet. Den noterede den særlige betydning af spørgsmålet, der vedrørte et af de mest intime aspekter af privatlivet, nemlig en persons kønsidentitet, i relation til afvejning af den almene interesse i forhold til interessen hos den enkelte.

Domstolen fandt, at respekten for ansøgerens privatliv krævede, at der for at undgå en mekanisk anvendelse af de to års forsinkelse blev taget hensyn til de medicinske, biologiske og psykologiske kendsgerninger, som utvetydigt var fremført af medicinske eksperter. Den konkluderede, at under hensyn til sagsøgerens meget særlig situation, og i betragtning af den sagsøgtes statslige funktion i forhold til et spørgsmål vedrørende et af de mest intime aspekter af privatlivet, var der ikke udvist en rimelig balance mellem sygeforsikringsselskabets og sagsøgerens interesser.

Der havde derfor været en overtrædelse af artikel 8.

Dommerne Vaji? og Jebens udtrykte en fælles delvist afvigende udtalelse, der er knyttet til dommen.

Resuméet er ikke bindende for Domstolen.

Resuméet på engelsk hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.
Dommen på fransk hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Y. Y. mod Tyrkiet – Application no. 14793/08. Om afslag på kønsskifte. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol 6. marts 2008.

Vist 9 gange. Den 6. marts 2008 blev sagen Y. Y. mod Tyrkiet – Application no. 14793/08 – indbragt for Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Sagsøgeren var en tyrkisk statsborger født i 1981 og boende i Mersin.
Klageren var en ikke-kønsskifteopereret kvinde til mand transseksuel, der i de civile registre var registreret som kvinde. Han havde fra en tidlig alder følt sig som mand.

Den 30. september 2005 søgte han om tilladelse til at gennemgå en kvinde til mand kønsskifteoperation og at få ændret sin civilretslige status i fødselsregistret fra kvinde til mand.

Den 27. juni 2006 fik han afslag på ønsket om kønsskifteoperation. Flere lægeerklæringer anførte, at han var transmand, men stadig var fødedygtig. Afslaget blev begrundet med, at han stadig havde mulighed for at blive gravid.

Den 17. maj 2007 blev afgørelsen stadfæstet af en højere instans, og den 18. oktober 2007 fik han afslag på at få sagen indbragt for den højeste instans.

Sagsøgeren fandt sit privatliv krænket jf. artikel 8 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention og med henvisning til artikel 6 i konventionen, at han ikke kan få indbragt sagen for højesteret.

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol har i marts 2010 returneret sagen til de tyrkiske myndigheder til genvurdering, og har samtidig anmodet om at få mere præcise oplysninger om lovgivningen og andre betingelserne for adgang til en kønsskifteoperation.

Sagen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol. Kun på fransk.

L. mod Litaun – Application no. 27527/03 – Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol bestemte den 11. september 2007, at Litauen skulle indføre lovgivning, der tillader kønsskifteoperationer.

Vist 0 gange. Den 11. september 2007 afsagde Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol dom i sagen L. mod Litauen – Application no. 27527/03.
L. er en transmand, som grundet manglende lovgivning ikke kunne få tilladelse til en kønsskifteoperation i Litaun. Domstolen afgjorde, at Litauen var forplitiget til at gennemføre den nødvendige lovgivning, således at L. kunne få tilladelse til at få foretaget sin kønsskifteoperation.
Dommen blev endelig den 31. marts 2008.

Artikel 3 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention om forbud mod tortur og nedværdigende behandling.
Domstolen fandt ikke, at der var sket overtrædelse af artiklen.
Artikel 8 Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention om respekt for privatliv og familieliv
Domstolen fandt, at der var sket overtrædelse af artiklen.
Domstolen bestemte, at Litauen skal indføre lovgivning, der tillader kønsskifteoperationer.
Domstolen tilkendte L. økonomisk erstatning.

Det er værd at bemærke, at Domstolen konsekvent omtalte L. som “hr., han og mand” uagtet L. juridisk efter litauiske lovgivning var en kvinde.

Herunder en oversættelse til dansk af den indledende procedure og Domstolens afgørelse. De mellemliggende partsindlæg, Domstolens bemærkninger dertil, og de afsluttende mindretalsudtalelser er ikke oversat, men gengivet på engelsk.

Der tages forbehold for oversættelsens rigtighed. Ved brug som dokumentation henvises til den originale engelske tekst.

Tina Thranesen.

* * *
Procedure – oversat til dansk
De mellemliggende partsindlæg – på engelsk
Domstolens afgørels – oversat til dansk
De afsluttende mindretalsudtalelser – på engelsk
Kildeangivelse

* * *
[Til indholdsfortegnelse] Procedure
1. Sagen startede med et sagsanlæg (nr. 27527 /03) mod Republikken Litauen indgivet til Domstolen i henhold til artikel 34 i konventionen om beskyttelse af menneskerettigheder og grundlæggende frihedsrettigheder (“konventionen”) af en litauisk statsborger, hr. L. (“ansøgeren”), den 14. august 2003. Formanden for afdeling tiltrådte sagsøgerens begæring ikke at få sit navn offentliggjort (artikel 47 § 3 i Domstolens forretningsordenen).

2. Sagsøgeren påstod overtrædelser af artikel 3, artikel 8, 12 og 14 i konventionen for så vidt angår den manglende lovmæssige forhold vedrørende transseksuelle i Litauen, og især manglende lovlig mulighed for at undergå fuld kønsskifteoperation, som igen havde resulteret i andre besværligheder og ulemper.

3. Ved afgørelse den 6. juli 2006 erklærede Domstolen ansøgningen delvist kunne realitetsbehandles.

4. En offentlig høring om sagens realiteter fandt sted i Menneskerettighedsbygningen i Strasbourg den 17. oktober 2006 (Artikel 59 § 3).

Følgende fremstod for Domstolen:
a) for regeringen
fru E. Baltutyte, som befuldmægtiget,
fru L. Urbaite, assistent for den befuldmægtigede;
b) for sagsøgeren
hr. H. Mickevicius, advokat,
fru A. Radvilait?, assistent for advokaten.

Domstolen hørte fremlæggelser af hr. Mickevicius og fru Baltutyte, samt svar fra hr. Mickevicius, fru Baltutyte og fru Urbaite på spørgsmål fra dens medlemmer.

Sagsfremstilling
I. Sagens omstændigheder
5. Sagsøgeren blev født i 1978 og bor i Klaipeda.

6. Ved fødslen blev sagsøgeren registreret som en pige og fik et efter litauisk sprogbrug klart kvindeligt navn.

7. Sagsøgeren fremførte, at han fra en tidlig alder var blevet klar over, at hans “mentale køn” var mand, og at der dermed var en konflikt mellem hans mentale og genitale køn.

8. Den 18. maj 1997 konsulterede sagsøgeren en kirurg om mulighederne for kønsskifte. Lægen foreslog, at ansøgeren først konsulterede en psykiater.

9. Fra den 4. til 12. november 1997 frekventerede sagsøgeren det psykiatriske hospital i Vilnius, hvor hans fysiske og psykiske tilstand blev undersøgt.

10. Den 16. december 1997 bekræftede en læge ved Vilnius Universitetshospital, Santariškiés, at sagsøgeren køn på grundlag af kromosomerne var kvinde, og diagnosticerede ham som transseksuel. Lægen rådgav, at ansøgeren konsultere en psykiater.

11. Den 23. januar 1998 startede Vilnius Universitetshospital, Raudonasis Kryžius [1/Røde Kors] en lægejournal for sagsøgeren. Sagsøgeren oplyste sit navn i en efter litauisk sprogbrug maskulin form, og hans lægejournal omtalte ham som værende af mandligt køn. En påtegning den 28. januar 1998 i lægejournalen anførte en anbefaling om, at sagsøgeren indledte en hormonbehandling med henblik på en eventuel kønsskifteoperation. Derefter fulgte en officiel to måneders hormonbehandling. Desuden blev det anbefalet, at sagsøgeren konsulterede en kirurg, som efterfølgende operativt fjernede hans bryster (jf. punkt 19 nedenfor).

12. Den 12. november 1998 skrev sagsøgeren under sit oprindelige navn et brev til Sundhedsministeriet, hvori han søgte at få afklaret de juridiske og medicinske muligheder for et kønsskifte. Han erklærede, at han var fast besluttet på at gennemgå denne procedure.

13. Den 17. december 1998 svarede en embedsmand fra Sundhedsministeriet, at en arbejdsgruppe var blevet nedsat af sundhedsministeren med henblik på at analysere de spørgsmål, der vedrører kønsskifte, og at sagsøgeren vil blive behørigt informeret om konklusionerne.

14. Over for Domstolen hævdede ansøgeren, at han ikke havde modtaget yderligere oplysninger fra Sundhedsministeriet.

15. Den 13. maj 1999 bekræftede en læge ved Vilnius Psykiatriske Hospital, at det er anført, at sagsøgeren under sit oprindelige navn, havde frekventeret hospitalet fra den 4. til den 12. november 1997, og at han var blevet diagnosticeret som transseksuel.

16. Sagsøgeren fremførte, at hans alment praktiserende læge i 1999 havde nægtet at ordinere hormonbehandling med henvisning til den retlige usikkerhed om, hvorvidt fuldt kønsskifte kunne gennemføres, hvilket førte til, at den nye identitet som transseksuel blev registreret i overensstemmelse med landets lovgivning. Derefter fortsatte sagsøgeren sin hormonbehandlingen “uofficielt”, da det på det tidspunkt blev anset for nødvendigt, at en sådan behandling blev fulgt i to år, før det fulde kirurgiske indgreb kunne udføres.

17. På en uspecificeret dato i 1999 har sagsøgeren ansøgt om, at hans navn på alle officielle dokumenter ændredes for at afspejle hans mandlige identitet. Ansøgningen blev afslået.

18. På en uspecificeret dato i 1999 blev sagsøgeren indskrevet på Vilnius Universitet. På ansøgerens anmodning, var universitetets administration enige om at registrere ham som studerende under det mandlige navn valgt af ham selv (initialerne PL). Sagsøgeren hævdede over for Domstolen, at universitetets afgørelse var ekstraordinær og rent humanitær, da de gældende regler på det tidspunkt klart krævede, at hans registrering skete under hans oprindelige kvindelige navn, som anført på hans fødselsattest og i hans pas.

19. Fra den 3. til 9. maj 2000 gennemgik sagsøger “delvis kønsskifteoperation” (fjernelse af brysterne). Sagsøgeren aftalte med lægerne, at yderligere kirurgisk skridt ville blive udført efter vedtagelsen af love om passende vilkår og procedure for sådanne operationer.

20. På en uspecificeret dato i 2000 blev sagsøgerens fødselsattest og pas med bistand fra et litauisk parlamentsmedlem ændret til at angive hans identitet som P.L. Fornavnet og efternavnet, som sagsøgeren valgte til sin nye identitet, var af slavisk oprindelse og afslørede derfor ikke hans køn. Ansøgeren kunne ikke vælge et litauisk navn eller efternavn, da de alle er kønsbestemte. Men ansøgerens “personlig kode” på hans nye fødselsattest og pas – en talkode, som indeholder grundlæggende oplysninger om en person i overensstemmelse med de litauiske registreringsregler – forblev uændret startende med tallet 4, som dermed afslører hans køn som kvinde (jf. punkt 28-29 nedenfor).

21. Sagsøgeren understregede, at han derfor forblev kvinde i forhold til lovgivningen. Dette blev bekræftet bl.a. ved den kendsgerning, at på eksamensbeviset fra Vilnius Universitet, som han havde modtaget efter en vellykket eksamen i 2003, var hans “personlige kode” forblevet den samme, og betegnede ham som en kvinde. Som et resultat, hævdede han, var han dagligt i forlegenhed og stod over for betydelige daglige vanskeligheder, da han var ude af stand til for eksempel at søge et job, betale sociale sikringsbidrag, konsultere medicinske institutioner, kommunikere med myndighederne, få et banklån eller krydse statsgrænsen uden at afsløre sin kvindelige identitet.

22. Sagsøgeren indgav en kopi af en artikel af Baltic News Agency (BNS) den 17. juni 2003, som citerer en erklæring fra formanden for det litauiske parlament, Seimas om et lovforslag vedrørende kønsskifte (forelagt parlamentet den 3. juni 2003 – se punkt 30 nedenfor). Det blev nævnt i artiklen, at visse medlemmer af parlamentet havde beskyldt sundhedsministeren, som var plastikkirurg, for at have en personlig interesse i vedtagelsen af loven. Artiklen nævnte også, at visse medlemmer af det socialdemokratiske parti havde opfordret til vedtagelse af loven, som det blev krævet i den nært forestående ikrafttrædelse af den nye borgerlige straffelov den 1. juli 2003. Artiklen henviste til udtalelser fra eksperter, at der var omkring halvtreds transseksuelle i Litauen. Det blev nævnt, at visse kirurger i Vilnius og Kaunas var ordentligt veluddannede og kvalificerede til at udføre en kønsskifteoperation, hvis omkostninger kan være mellem 3.000 og 4.000 litauiske Litai (ca. 870 til 1.150
euro) eksklusiv udgifter til hormonbehandling. Artiklen erklærede, at en række personer allerede havde ansøgt om kønsskifte, men at operationerne ikke kunne gennemføres fuld ud på grund af manglende juridiske regler. Det blev antaget, at nogle af de litauiske transseksuelle derfor havde været nødt til at rejse til udlandet for behandling.

23. I en artikel i BNS den 18. juni 2003 om et møde mellem premierministeren og lederne af den litauiske katolske kirke, blev premierministeren citeret for at sige, at det var for tidligt for Litauen at vedtage en lov om kønsskifte, og at der var “ingen grund til at haste” eller “kopiere de principper, der findes i det ene eller andet land”. Artiklen erklærede, at den katolske kirke havde været blandt de mest glødende modstandere af en sådan lovgivning. Samtidig erkendte premierministeren, at regeringen var forpligtet til at udarbejde en kønsskiftelov i betragtning af ikrafttrædelsen af artikel 2.27 § 1 i den nye borgerlige straffelov den 1. juli 2003.

24. Sagsøgeren fremførte, at han siden 1998 havde været i et fast forhold med en kvinde, og at de havde levet sammen siden 1999.

* * *
[Til indholdsfortegnelse] II. Relevant domestic law and practice
25. There were no provisions pertaining to the question of transsexuals in Lithuanian law until the adoption of the new Civil Code on 18 July 2000. The Civil Code came into force on 1 July 2001. The first paragraph of Article 2.27 (which only came into force on 1 July 2003) provides that an unmarried adult has the right to gender reassignment surgery, if this is medically possible. A request by the person concerned must be made in writing. The second paragraph of this provision states that the conditions and procedure for gender reassignment surgery are established by law.

26. On 27 December 2000 the government adopted a decree specifying the measures needed for the implementation of the new Civil Code. The preparation of a Gender Reassignment Bill was mentioned in it.

27. Rule 109.2 of the Civil Registration Rules, approved by an order of the Minister of Justice on 29 June 2001 (in force from 12 July 2001), permits a change in civil-status documents if there is a need to change a person’s gender, forename and surname, following gender reassignment.

28. Under the Residents’ Register Act and other relevant domestic laws, every Lithuanian resident has a numerical “personal code” (asmens kodas), which denotes certain basic items of information, including his or her gender. Section 8(2) of the Residents’ Register Act provides that the first number of the personal code denotes the person’s gender. A personal code starting with the number 3 denotes that the person is male, whereas a code starting with number 4 means that the person is female.

29. Section 5 of the Passport Act 2003 provides that a citizen’s passport must be changed if the citizen changes his or her forename, surname, gender or personal code.

30. The Gender Reassignment Bill was prepared by a working group of the Ministry of Health in early 2003. On 3 June 2003 the government approved the Bill, sending it for consideration to the Seimas (Parliament). In an explanatory note to Parliament dated 4 June 2003, the Minister of Health indicated, inter alia, that, at present, no legal instrument regulated the conditions and procedure for gender reassignment. The Bill was initially scheduled for a plenary session of Parliament on 12 June 2003, but it was not examined that day. It was rescheduled for 17 June 2003, but was then omitted from Parliament’s agenda. On the same date the Speaker of Parliament circulated an official memorandum on the Bill stating, inter alia:

“The Speaker of the Seimas … strongly denounces gender reassignment surgery and the further consideration of a bill on the subject at a parliamentary hearing.

[At a time] when the demographic situation in Lithuania is becoming threatened, the Seimas should not make matters worse by considering such a controversial law, which may be taken by society as an insult to the far more important problems facing the health-care system.”

31. The order of the Minister of Health, issued on 6 September 2001, specifies the conditions under which patients in Lithuania can be referred for treatment abroad, in cases where the necessary treatment for a certain illness is not available in Lithuania. The decision is taken by a special commission of experts appointed by the Minister of Health, and the cost of such treatment is covered by the Compulsory Health Insurance Fund.

32. On 8 August 2006 the Constitutional Court ruled that the courts were empowered to fill the gaps left in the legislation where this was necessary, inter alia, for the protection of the rights and freedoms of a particular individual.

The Law
I. The Government’s preliminary objection
33. The Government alleged that the applicant had failed to exhaust domestic remedies as regards his complaints that he had been unable to complete the course of gender reassignment. They asserted that the applicant had had the opportunity to bring a claim – by way of civil or administrative proceedings – seeking damages for the alleged inactivity of the administrative and health-care authorities and/or doctors when dealing with his gender reassignment needs. The Government maintained that such an action would have enabled the courts to fill the legislative lacunae. In this connection, the Government referred to the Constitutional Court ruling of 8 August 2006, in which a certain law-making role of the courts had been acknowledged (see paragraph 32 above). Alternatively, the domestic courts could have sought the opinion of the Constitutional Court as to whether the existence of the legal gaps in issue was in conformity with the Constitution. While the Government conceded that there
was no particular domestic case-law regarding transsexuals, they argued that this factor alone was not sufficient to raise doubts about the effectiveness of a civil action as a remedy or to presume the lack of any prospects of success.

34. The applicant contested the Government’s submissions.

35. However, the Court reiterates that Article 35 § 1 of the Convention only requires the exhaustion of remedies which are available and sufficient, in theory as well as practice, on the date on which the application was lodged with it (see, among other authorities, Stoeterij Zangersheide N.V. v. Belgium (dec.), no. 47295/99, 27 May 2004, and, conversely, Mifsud v. France (dec.) [GC], no. 57220/00, §§ 15-18, ECHR 2002-VIII).

36. The Court notes that it has already dismissed this plea by the Government in its decision on the admissibility of the present application on 6 July 2006, because the applicant’s complaint essentially concerns the state of the law. In this connection, it observes that the relevant provisions of the Civil Code concerning gender reassignment surgery require implementation by subsidiary legislation, which has yet to be enacted (see paragraph 25 above). It would seem that such legislation is not a priority for the legislature (see paragraph 30 above). Moreover, the Constitutional Court judgment referred to by the Government (paragraph 32 above) was adopted well after the present application was lodged with the Court. Accordingly, it cannot be cited to oppose the applicant’s claim. In these circumstances, the Court confirms its original conclusion that the applicant had no effective remedies available to him at the material time in respect of his specific complaints, and therefore
dismisses the Government’s preliminary objection.

II. Alleged violation of Article 3 of the Convention
37. The applicant complained that he had been unable to complete gender reassignment surgery owing to the lack of legal regulation on the subject. He relied on Article 3 of the Convention, which provides:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

A. The parties’ submissions
1. The applicant
38. The applicant alleged that his continuing inability to complete gender reassignment surgery had left him with a permanent feeling of personal inadequacy and an inability to accept his body, leading to great anguish and frustration. Furthermore, owing to the lack of recognition of his perceived, albeit preoperative, identity, the applicant constantly faced anxiety, fear, embarrassment and humiliation in his daily life. He had had to face severe hostility and taunts in the light of the general public’s strong opposition, rooted in traditional Catholicism, to gender disorders. Consequently, he had had to pursue an almost underground lifestyle, avoiding situations in which he might have to disclose his original identity, particularly when having to provide his personal code (see paragraph 28 above). This had left him in a permanent state of depression with suicidal tendencies.

39. In the applicant’s view, the State’s inactivity was the main cause of his suffering. Since the entry into force of the new Civil Code, the applicant had had reasonable hopes of completing the treatment and registering his new identity. By that stage, he had already been duly diagnosed as a transsexual, had been following hormone treatment since 1998, and had undergone breast-removal surgery. However, the Gender Reassignment Bill – put before the legislature in June 2003 – had been withdrawn from the parliamentary agenda without any objective reason or explanation being given. The Government had therefore failed to fulfil their positive obligations under Article 3 of the Convention to protect the applicant from the impossible situation in which he found himself (described in the preceding paragraph).

40. Referring to the Court’s case-law, the applicant considered that Parliament’s inaction was to be seen as a concession to the negative attitude of the population, revealing the bias of a hostile majority towards the transsexual minority, which in itself should be seen as falling within the scope of Article 3. The applicant contended that the State’s failure to adopt the necessary legislation on gender reassignment surgery, which would allow him to complete his treatment and have his new gender legally recognised, amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.

2. The Government
41. The Government argued that neither the Convention in general nor Article 3 in particular could be interpreted as laying down a general obligation to provide full gender reassignment surgery for transsexuals. Nor could it be maintained that such irreversible surgery was indispensable for the treatment of gender-identity disorders. In particular, general medical practice had shown that hormone therapy and partial gender reassignment surgery, such as breast removal, might in certain cases be sufficient to help a female-to-male transsexual pursue his life experience in the role of the desired gender. The applicant had not substantiated his claim that he needed the full procedure.

42. The Government pointed out that transsexuality was a rare disorder, the scale of which was difficult to assess, particularly since freedom of movement within the European Union had encouraged many people to leave the country. There had certainly been no intention on the part of the State to humiliate or debase transsexuals. They maintained that transsexuality as a disease was by no means neglected. Indeed, the applicant had been afforded due medical assistance in the form of medical consultations and hormone treatment. The applicant was also entitled to seek confirmation of the medical necessity of full gender reassignment surgery, which might have enabled him to be referred for medical treatment abroad, financed by the State (paragraph 31 above).

43. Whilst recognising that transsexuals might encounter some difficulties in their daily lives, the Government asserted that those difficulties were not intentionally created nor inflicted by the State. On the contrary, steps had been taken to alleviate the problems, such as allowing the applicant to change his name. A change in the entries for all official documents, including the personal code, could be effected on completion of a transsexual’s gender reassignment surgery.

44. Furthermore, the State could not be held responsible for the alleged deterioration of the applicant’s health, as he had chosen – on his own initiative and disregarding the warnings of doctors – to continue his hormone treatment unofficially, beyond that prescribed for two months in 1998.

45. In sum, the Government maintained that the alleged ill-treatment did not attain the minimum level of severity in order to fall within the scope of Article 3. They considered that the issue of the regulation of gender reassignment surgery and the recognition of transsexuals’ identity fell to be dealt with under Article 8 of the Convention alone. In any case, the Government asserted, the State had fulfilled its positive obligations under both Articles 3 and 8 by providing adequate health care for the treatment of disease and avoidable death, including appropriate treatment for transsexuals – psychiatric, surgical, hormonal, and so on.

B. The Court’s assessment
46. The Court observes that the prohibition under Article 3 of the Convention is of an absolute nature, but that the kind of treatment qualified as inhuman and degrading will depend upon an examination of the facts of the specific case in order to establish whether the suffering caused was so severe as to fall within the ambit of this provision. Moreover, according to its established case-law, Article 3 entails a positive obligation on the part of the State to protect the individual from acute ill-treatment, whether physical or mental, whatever its source. Thus if the source is a naturally occurring illness, the treatment for which could involve the responsibility of the State but is not forthcoming or is patently inadequate, an issue may arise under this provision (see, for example, D. v. the United Kingdom, 2 May 1997, §§ 51-54, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997-III, and, mutatis mutandis, Pretty v. the United Kingdom, no. 2346/02, §§ 49-52, ECHR 2002 III).

47. However, an examination of the facts of the present case, whilst revealing the applicant’s understandable distress and frustration, does not indicate circumstances of such an intense degree, involving the exceptional, life-threatening conditions found in the cases of Mr D. and Mrs Pretty cited above, as to fall within the scope of Article 3 of the Convention. The Court considers it more appropriate to analyse this aspect of the applicant’s complaint under Article 8 (respect for private life) below.

48. Consequently, the Court finds no violation of Article 3 of the Convention.

III. Alleged violation of Article 8 of the Convention
49. The applicant alleged that the State had failed to fulfil its positive obligations under Article 8, which provides, in so far as relevant:

“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private … life …

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society … for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

A. The parties’ submissions
1. The applicant
50. Referring to his arguments under Article 3 (see paragraphs 38 40 above), the applicant repeated that the State had failed to provide him with a lawful opportunity to complete his gender reassignment and obtain full recognition of his post-operative gender. He reiterated that the right to gender reassignment surgery had been envisaged by the new Civil Code since 2003, but no subsidiary legislation had been passed to implement that right. The applicant further emphasised that, although he had been able to change his name to a gender-neutral form, the law did not provide for a change in the personal code of preoperative transsexuals (see paragraph 28 above). As a result he had forgone numerous opportunities in many areas, such as, employment, health care, social security, freedom of movement, business transactions, socialising and personal development in order to avoid hostility and taunts. He had thus been condemned to legal and social ostracism because he looked male but his personal
documents identified him as a woman.

51. The applicant argued that there was no public interest whatsoever militating against the interests of medically recognised transsexuals in completing their gender change and having it legally entrenched. Furthermore, the absence of necessary legislation was disproportionate to the protection of any purported countervailing interest of the community as a whole. Accordingly, the State had failed in its positive obligations under Article 8 to complete the measures it had already envisaged to protect the applicant’s human dignity and prevent intrusion into his private life.

2. The Government
52. Further to their pleadings under Article 3 (see paragraphs 41 45 above), the Government maintained that a wide margin of appreciation should be afforded to States in regulating gender reassignment and deciding whether to recognise a person’s new identity where the required surgery was incomplete. In that connection they cited, inter alia, the cultural specificities and religious sensitivities of Lithuanian society regarding the gender reassignment debate.

53. In so far as the regulation of gender reassignment surgery was concerned, the Government reiterated their claim that the medical treatment afforded to transsexuals in Lithuania was capable of guaranteeing respect for private life. Moreover, Lithuanian law entitled transsexuals to have the entries in official documents changed, including their personal code, after full gender reassignment.

54. As regards the preoperative recognition of a diagnosed gender, the Government argued that there was an overriding public interest in ensuring legal certainty as to a person’s gender and the various relationships between people. In this connection, they pointed out that the applicant had indeed been able to make a gender-neutral change in his name.

55. The Government again stressed that the applicant had failed to provide evidence as to the necessity and feasibility of full gender reassignment surgery in his case. They had recently suggested to the applicant that he undergo a comprehensive psychiatric and physical examination of his current state of health with a view to assessing his present possibilities and needs, but the applicant had declined that offer. The Government expressed a certain concern about the level of expertise available in Lithuania for such rare and specialised surgery at present, whereas surgery performed by practising experts abroad might be an appropriate temporary solution to the problems faced by transsexuals, for which the State could provide financial assistance (paragraph 31 above).

B. The Court’s assessment
56. The Court would emphasise the positive obligation upon States to ensure respect for private life, including respect for human dignity and the quality of life in certain respects (see, mutatis mutandis, Pretty, cited above, § 65). It has examined several cases involving the problems faced by transsexuals in the light of present-day conditions, and has noted and endorsed the evolving improvement of State measures to ensure their recognition and protection under Article 8 of the Convention (see, for example, Christine Goodwin v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 28957/95, ECHR 2002 VI; Van Kück v. Germany, no. 35968/97, ECHR 2003 VII; and Grant v. the United Kingdom, no. 32570/03, ECHR 2006-VII). Whilst affording a certain
margin of appreciation to States in this field, the Court has nevertheless held that States are required, by their positive obligation under Article 8, to implement the recognition of the gender change in post-operative transsexuals through, inter alia, amendments to their civil-status data, with its ensuing consequences (see, for example, Christine Goodwin, §§ 71-93, and Grant, §§ 39-44, both cited above).

57. The present case involves another aspect of the problems faced by transsexuals: Lithuanian law recognises their right to change not only their gender but also their civil status (paragraphs 25, 27, and 29 above). However, there is a gap in the relevant legislation; there is no law regulating full gender reassignment surgery. Until such a law is enacted, no suitable medical facilities appear to be reasonably accessible or available in Lithuania (paragraphs 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 30 and 55 above). Consequently, the applicant finds himself in the intermediate position of a preoperative transsexual, having undergone partial surgery, with certain important civil-status documents having been changed. However, until he undergoes the full surgery, his personal code will not be amended and, therefore, in certain significant situations in his private life, such as his employment opportunities or travel abroad, he remains a woman (paragraphs 19 21 above).

58. The Court notes that the applicant has undergone partial gender reassignment surgery. It is not entirely clear to what extent he would be able to complete the procedure privately in Lithuania (see the newspaper article referred to in paragraph 22 above). However, this consideration has not been put forward by either party to the present case so, presumably, it is to be ruled out. As a short-term solution, it may be possible for the applicant to have the remaining operation abroad, financed in whole or in part by the State (paragraphs 31, 42 and 55 above).

59. The Court finds that the circumstances of the case reveal a limited legislative gap in gender reassignment surgery, which leaves the applicant in a situation of distressing uncertainty vis-à-vis his private life and the recognition of his true identity. Whilst budgetary restraints in the public health service might have justified some initial delays in implementing the rights of transsexuals under the Civil Code, over four years have elapsed since the relevant provisions came into force and the necessary legislation, although drafted, has yet to be enacted (paragraph 30 above). Given the few individuals involved (some fifty people, according to unofficial estimates – see paragraph 22 above), the budgetary burden on the State would not be expected to be unduly heavy. Consequently, the Court considers that a fair balance has not been struck between the public interest and the rights of the applicant.

60. In the light of the above considerations, the Court concludes that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

IV. Alleged violation of Article 12 of the Convention
61. The applicant complained that his inability to complete his gender reassignment had prevented him from marrying and founding a family, in violation of Article 12 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.”

A. The parties’ submissions
62. The applicant submitted that he had been living as a man for some ten years now and had been diagnosed with a gender-identity disorder nine years ago. He had been in a stable relationship with a woman since 1998 and they had been living together since 1999 (paragraph 24 above). They wished to legalise their long-lasting relationship, marry and establish a family through adoption.

63. The Government argued that the applicant could not be considered a victim or even a potential victim of the alleged violation, in that the relevant rules of civil law did not prevent a transsexual from marrying in his new identity following gender reassignment surgery. The key issue was still that of gender recognition and, as such, it was more appropriately dealt with under Article 8 of the Convention.

B. The Court’s assessment
64. The Court observes that the applicant’s complaint under Article 12 is premature in that, should he complete full gender reassignment surgery, his status as a man would be recognised together with the right to marry a woman. In these circumstances, the Court agrees with the Government that the key issue is still that of the gap in legislation, which has been analysed under Article 8 above. Consequently, it finds it unnecessary to examine this aspect of the case separately under Article 12 of the Convention.

V. Alleged violation of Article 14 of the Convention taken in conjunction with Articles 3 and 8
65. The applicant argued that the lack of legal regulation in Lithuania regarding the treatment and status of transsexuals disclosed a discriminatory attitude on the part of the Lithuanian authorities, in breach of Article 14 of the Convention, which provides as follows:

The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”

A. The parties’ submissions
66. The applicant alleged that the failure of the State to pass the necessary legislation on gender reassignment was essentially due to the prejudices and hostile attitudes of the majority of the Lithuanian population towards transsexuals as a minority group, and served no legitimate aim. No objective and reasonable justification had been put forward by the Government for the indefinite postponement of the enactment of the subsidiary legislation required by the Civil Code. As a result, the applicant had been denied vital opportunities as a transsexual, particularly as regards the treatment of his gender-identity disorder and the effective legal recognition of his status.

67. The Government contested those allegations. They claimed that no separate issue arose under this provision that had not already been dealt with under Articles 3 and 8.

B. The Court’s assessment
68. The Court again finds that, in the circumstances of the present case, the applicant’s complaint of discrimination is essentially the same, albeit seen from a different angle, as that which it has considered above under Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention (see Van Kück, cited above, § 91). Consequently, it finds it unnecessary to examine this aspect of the case separately under Article 14 of the Convention.

VI. Application of Article 41 of the convention
69. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

A. Damage
70. The applicant claimed 33,589.46 Lithuanian litai (LTL) (approximately 9,728 euros (EUR)) for pecuniary damage, which represented:
a) his loss of earnings, given his limited employment prospects in order to avoid drawing attention to his status (LTL 26,391);
b) compensation for private and unofficial medical treatment, which was more costly than State health care, but did not require him to reveal his identity (LTL 4,318.46); and
c) compensation for his prolonged hormone treatment, while awaiting the legal possibility of completing the gender reassignment procedure (LTL 2,880).

71. The applicant further claimed EUR 47,680 to cover the cost of the eventual completion of gender reassignment surgery. In this connection, the applicant argued that, even if the legal gaps in Lithuanian law were eventually filled, there would still be no prospect of completing the gender reassignment surgery in Lithuania within a reasonable time. He therefore contended that this sum was needed to carry out the surgery abroad.

72. Finally, the applicant claimed EUR 200,000 for the non-pecuniary damage resulting from the stress, anxiety, fear and humiliation which he had suffered, as well as his inability to enjoy his rights.

73. The Government considered these claims to be unsubstantiated and speculative. They noted that, before the Civil Code had come into force on 1 July 2003, the applicant had had no right to treatment for his disorder under domestic law. Moreover, in relation to further surgery, the applicant had not submitted any evidence of his current needs and state of health.

74. The Court notes the limited nature of the violation which it has found (see paragraphs 59-60 above). It considers that the applicant’s claim for pecuniary damage would be satisfied by the enactment of the subsidiary legislation at issue in the present case within three months of the present judgment becoming final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. However, should that prove impossible, and in view of the uncertainty about the medical expertise currently available in Lithuania, the Court is of the view that this aspect of the applicant’s claim could be satisfied by his having the final stages of the necessary surgery performed abroad and financed, at least in part, by the respondent State. Consequently, as an alternative in the absence of any such subsidiary legislation, the Court would award the applicant EUR 40,000 in pecuniary damage.

75. As regards the applicant’s claim for non-pecuniary damage, the Court, deciding on an equitable basis as required by Article 41 of the Convention, awards the applicant EUR 5,000.

B. Costs and expenses
76. The applicant claimed EUR 9,403 for legal costs and expenses incurred in the proceedings before the Court. The costs of travel to the Court hearing, together with accommodation and other related expenses, were claimed in the amount of EUR 603.

77. The Government submitted that the claim for legal costs and expenses appeared excessive and unjustified, particularly as the applicant had received legal aid from the Council of Europe.

78. The Court notes that the applicant had the benefit of legal aid from the Council of Europe for his representation in the total amount of EUR 2,071.81 in the present case. It concludes that this amount is sufficient in the circumstances.

C. Default interest
79. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

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[Til indholdsfortegnelse] Af disse grunde har Domstolen

1. Afviste (med seks stemmer mod en) regeringens primære indsigelse;

2. Bestemte (med seks stemmer mod en), at der ikke har været nogen krænkelse af artikel 3 i konventionen;

3. Bestemte (med seks stemmer mod en), at der har været en overtrædelse af artikel 8 i konventionen;

4. Bestemte (med seks stemmer mod en), at der ikke er behov for en særskilt undersøgelse af sagsøgerens klager i forhold til artikel 12 og 14 i konventionen;

5. Bestemte (med fem stemmer mod to), at den sagsøgte stat for at opfylde sagsøgerens påstand om økonomisk tab, skal gennemføre den nødvendige følgelovgivning til artikel 2.27 i sin civilret om transseksuelles kønsskifte senest tre måneder efter denne dom er blevet endelig i overensstemmelse med artikel 44 § 2 i konventionen;

6. Bestemte (med seks stemmer mod en), at alternativt skal den sagsøgte stat, hvis disse lovgivningsmæssige foranstaltninger viser sig umuligt at vedtage senest tre måneder efter denne dom er blevet endelig i henhold til artikel 44 § 2 i konventionen, betale sagsøgeren 40.000 euro (fyrre tusind euro) som kompensation for økonomiske tab;

7. Bestemte (med seks stemmer mod en), at den sagsøgte stat inden for den ovennævnte periode på tre måneder skal betale sagsøgere 5.000 euro (fem tusinde euro) for ikke-økonomisk skade;

8. Bestemte (med seks stemmer mod en),
a) at den sagsøgte stat inden for den ovennævnte periode på tre måneder skal betale sagsøgeren alle skatter, der eventuelt påløber ovennævnte beløb, og at de skyldige beløb skal konverteres til litauisk valuta til den gældende sats på tidspunktet for afregning;

b) at der fra udløbet af de ovennævnte tre måneder indtil afregning finder sted skal betales rente af ovenstående beløb med en sats svarende til den marginale udlånsrente for Den Europæiske Centralbank med tillæg af tre procentpoint;

9. Afviste (enstemmigt) den resterende del af sagsøgerens påstande om erstatning.

Udfærdiget på engelsk og meddelt skriftligt den 11. september 2007 i henhold til artikel 77 §§ 2 og 3 i Domstolens forretningsorden.

Sally Dolle, justitssekretær
Jean-Paul Costa, retspræsident

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[Til indholdsfortegnelse] Følgende afsluttende bemærkninger er ikke oversat

In accordance with Article 45 § 2 of the Convention and Rule 74 § 2 of the Rules of the Court, the following separate opinions are annexed to this judgment:

a) partly dissenting opnion of Judge Fura-Sandström;
b) dissenting opinion of Judge Popovi?.

J.-P.C.
S.D.

Partly dissenting opinion of Judge Fura-Sandström
I voted against holding that the respondent State, in order to satisfy the applicant’s claim for pecuniary damage, should pass the required subsidiary legislation, pursuant to Article 2.27 of its Civil Code on the gender reassignment of transsexuals, within three months of the judgment becoming final (see paragraph 74 and point 5 of the operative provisions). In all other aspects I agree with the majority.
My principal concern is that, by adopting such a solution, the Court risks acting ultra vires. The Convention clearly sets out a division of competences. Under Article 41 of the Convention, it falls to the Court, when a violation of the Convention or its Protocols has been found, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, to afford just satisfaction to the injured party, if necessary. Article 46 § 2 of the Convention states that “[t]he final judgment of the Court shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, which shall supervise its execution”.
Looking at the case at hand, I would make the following observations. The applicant claimed the amount of 57,408 euros (EUR) for pecuniary damage in respect of medical fees, loss of earnings, hormone treatment and the cost of the eventual completion of gender reassignment surgery abroad (see paragraphs 70-71 of the judgment). The applicant further alleged that, even if the legal gaps in Lithuanian law were eventually filled, there would still be no prospect of completing the gender reassignment surgery in Lithuania within a reasonable time (see paragraph 71 of the judgment). So I wonder whether the imposition of an obligation upon the respondent Government to pass the required legislation would be “affording just satisfaction to the injured party”, strictly speaking. The applicant does not seem to believe this to be the case.
I am aware of the possibility for the Court to prescribe general measures in order to prevent the recurrence of similar violations in the future (see, for example, Broniowski v. Poland [GC], no. 31443/96, ECHR 2004 V, and Hutten-Czapska v. Poland [GC], no. 35014/97, ECHR 2006-VIII, where the violations originated in a systemic problem connected with the malfunctioning of domestic legislation, and there were many other similar cases pending before the Court as well as a great number of potential applicants). However, the present application can be distinguished from such cases, as here the Court prescribes a general measure to redress an individual complaint. Only as an alternative, should those legislative measures prove impossible to adopt within the said time-limit, is the respondent State ordered to pay EUR 40,000 in respect of pecuniary damage (see paragraph 74 and point 6 of the operative provisions). For me, this does not afford just satisfaction to the applicant, as required by Article 41.
For these reasons I would have preferred the Court simply to order a payment in respect of pecuniary damage, and only as a secondary measure to indicate the need to pass new legislation.

Dissenting opinion of Judge Popovic
I respectfully disagree with the opinion of the majority of the judges, for the following reasons.
Although I voted along with my colleagues in favour of the admissibility of the application in this case, I have subsequently reconsidered my opinion in the light of the parties’ submissions at the oral hearing.
On the one hand, the applicant submitted that he had never availed himself of any domestic remedies because of their alleged ineffectiveness. On the other hand, the Government submitted that there had been a recent, convincing ruling of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania on national judicial remedies.
Faced with such facts, my approach is twofold: either one returns to the question of admissibility, or one raises of one’s own motion the issue under Article 13 of the Convention read in conjunction with either Article 8 or Article 3, thus thoroughly reconsidering the matter and determining whether there is an effective remedy under domestic law.
My preference would be to return to the admissibility issue with reference to paragraph 1 of “The Law” part of the admissibility decision in this case, taken on 6 July 2006, which refers to the decision in Valašinas v. Lithuania ((dec.), no. 44558/98, 14 March 2000) as the only authority. However, this precedent is clearly distinguishable from the present case. The decision on admissibility in Valašinas in favour of an applicant who had not exhausted domestic remedies was taken after the Court had made an on-the-spot investigation into the applicant’s conditions of detention. In the present case the Court has merely agreed with the applicant’s allegation that no effective domestic remedy existed. The present applicant’s only argument was founded on a legal gap in the national legal system, stemming either from a failure of the government to pass subsidiary legislation or to introduce a bill to that end. However, there was, and still is, under Lithuanian law primary legislation (Article 2.27 § 1 of the Civil Code 2001) which unequivocally meets the applicant’s aspirations.
The applicant appears to have sought redress from the Ministry of Health, which failed to respond. In such circumstances, the applicant should have tried to bring an action against the administration for failure to act, but despite being represented by a lawyer, he failed to do so.
Alleging the ineffectiveness of domestic remedies, without any attempt to turn to the domestic judiciary, the applicant apparently relies on the idea that the courts would somehow be unwilling to find in his favour despite the existence of a clear legal provision in the Civil Code.
One can only speculate that this submission is borne of the view that the judiciary is still a relic of the former authoritarian communist regime. Such courts would refuse to take a constructive approach to a legal provision, because of the mentality of the judges, who worked in fear of the political authorities for decades. They would therefore tend to stick to a strictly literal interpretation of the text of the written law. The applicant therefore apparently feared that, in the absence of specific subsidiary legislation, the national courts of law might refuse to apply primary legislation.
However, although social developments and adjustment take time, there is nothing to support the view that, nowadays, an applicant should be allowed by this Court to neglect the judiciary of a High Contracting Party to the Convention by claiming its prima facie ineffectiveness. Such an approach is wholly unjustified. On the contrary, national judges should be encouraged to take a bolder stand in interpreting domestic legal provisions, and applicants should not be allowed to circumvent their national courts. Applicants must apply to the domestic courts before lodging an application with this Court.
Moreover, the Government submitted that there had been some evolution in the domestic case-law. It was to be found in the ruling of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania as regards the general issue of remedies before domestic courts of law. The Constitutional Court stated, inter alia: “… the courts … which administer justice … have to construe law so that they are able to apply it.” Further on, the Constitutional Court found that if the courts of law were not to interpret the law “it would mean that law is treated only in its textual form and is identified with the latter” (Constitutional Court of Lithuania, case 34/03, decision of 8 August 2006, § 6.2.3.3).
The majority of judges seem to be convinced, in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, that the courts in Lithuania would be willing to apply future legislation, if enacted after the introduction of the government’s bill, although they might fail to apply the existing law. Such a belief appears groundless, especially if one takes account of the fact that the applicant has never tried to apply to the domestic courts.
The position of the parties is as follows: the applicant failed to exhaust domestic remedies, preferring merely to allege their ineffectiveness, although he was unable to substantiate that allegation, whereas the Government relied on the evolution of the domestic case-law concerning remedies.
I agree with the Government’s preliminary objection of non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, and consider the application premature and, therefore, inadmissible pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.

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[Til indholdsfortegnelse] Kilder
Dommen hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.
Dommen i pdf-format hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

R og F mod the United Kingdom – Application no. 35748/05. Skilsmisse i fbm. kønsskifte. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 28. december 2006.

Vist 13 gange. Den 28. november 2006 afviste Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol sagen R. og F. v. the United Kingdom – Application no. 35748/05 – som grundløs.
Klagerne, R og F var begge britiske statsborgere født i 1977 og 1974 og bosiddende i Skotland.
De mødtes i 1997 og blev gift i 1998.
F var født som mand, men startede processen mod et kønsskifte til kvinde, som blev gennemført i november 2003.
Da parterne imidlertid ikke ønskede skilsmisse kunne F ikke få endelig anerkendelse af sit kønsskifte.

De klagede navnlig i henhold til artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv) og artikel 12 (ret til at gifte sig) over, at de ikke kunne opnå juridisk anerkendelse af den ene parts nyerhvervede køn uden at parret blev skilt.

Sagen blev afvist – forkastet som åbenbart ugrundet:
Klagerne var anmodet om at blive skilt, da homoseksuelle ægteskaber ikke var tilladt i henhold til engelsk lov. Det Forenede Kongerige havde juridisk anerkendt kønsskiftet, og klagerne kunne fortsætte deres parforhold i et registreret partnerskab, som medførte næsten samme juridiske rettigheder og forpligtelser.

Domstolen bemærkede, at da den nye lovgivning – Gender Recognition Act 2004 – trådte i kraft efter dommen fra Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol i sagen Christine Goodwin v. The United Kingdom, var lovgiverne klar over, at der var et lille antal transseksuelle i eksisterende ægteskaber, men undlod bevidst at lave bestemmelser for de tilfælde, hvor den ene part i et ægteskab havde fået foretaget kønsskifte, og hvor begge ægtefæller ønskede at fortsætte i ægteskabet.
Retten fandt, at det ikke kunne kræves, at der blev taget højde for så lille et antal ægteskaber.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Wena og Anita Parry mod the United Kingdom – Application no. 42971/05. Skilsmisse i fbm. kønsskifte. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 28. december 2006.

wena-og-anita-parry-mod-uk

Wena og Anita Parry mod the United Kingdom, Application no. 42971/05, Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol, artikel 8, artikel 12, skilsmisse, ægteskab, kønsskifte, transseksuelle

Wena og Anita Parry mod the United Kingdom – Application no. 42971/05. Skilsmisse i fbm. kønsskifte. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 28. december 2006.

Vist 14 gange. Den 28. november 2006 afviste Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol sagen Wena og Anita Parry mod the United Kingdom – Application no. 42971/05 – som grundløs.
Klagerne, Wena og Anita Parry var begge britiske statsborgere født i 1939 og 1940 og bosiddende i Port Talbot, England.
De blev gift i 1960 og havde tre børn født i 1961, 1963 og 1973. De var begge dybt religiøse, og Wene Parry blev ordineret som præst i 1970.
Wena Perry var født som mand, men følte sig fra en tidlig alder som en kvinde. i 1998 begyndte Wena processen mod et kønsskifte.
I 2005 fik hun udstedt et såkaldt kønsanerkendelsesdokument af de engelske myndigheder, som kunne bruges i forbindelse med skilsmisse, hvorefter parret kunne indgå i et registreret partnerskab.
Da parterne imidlertid ikke ønskede skilsmisse kunne Wena ikke få endelig anerkendelse af sit kønsskifte.

De klagede navnlig i henhold til artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv) og artikel 12 (ret til at gifte sig) over, at de ikke kunne opnå juridisk anerkendelse af den ene parts nyerhvervede køn uden at parret blev skilt.

Sagen blev afvist – forkastet som åbenbart ugrundet:
Klagerne var anmodet om at blive skilt, da homoseksuelle ægteskaber ikke var tilladt i henhold til engelsk lov. Det Forenede Kongerige havde juridisk anerkendt kønsskiftet, og klagerne kunne fortsætte deres parforhold i et registreret partnerskab, som medførte næsten samme juridiske rettigheder og forpligtelser.

Domstolen bemærkede, at da den nye lovgivning – Gender Recognition Act 2004 – trådte i kraft efter dommen fra Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol i sagen Christine Goodwin mod the United Kingdom, var lovgiverne klar over, at der var et lille antal transseksuelle i eksisterende ægteskaber, men undlod bevidst at lave bestemmelser for de tilfælde, hvor den ene part i et ægteskab havde fået foretaget kønsskifte, og hvor begge ægtefæller ønskede at fortsætte i ægteskabet.

Retten fandt, at det ikke kunne kræves, at der blev taget højde for så lille et antal ægteskaber.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Christine Goodwin mod The United Kingdom – Application no. 28957/95. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 11. juli 2002.

Vist 373 gange. Uformel oversættelse af pressemeddelelse fra Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstols justitssekretær vedrørende dommen fra den 11. juli 2002 i sagen om Christine Goodwin v. The United Kingdom.
Der tages forbehold for oversættelsen. Ved brug som dokumentation henvises til den originale engelske version.
Tina Thranesen.

* * *

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol

366
11. juli 2002.

Pressemeddelelse udsendt af justitssekretæren


Den store domstolsafdelings dom i sagen
Christine Goodwin v. The United Kingdom

 

I en dom afsagt i Strasbourg den 11. juli 2002 i sagen Christine Goodwin v. The United Kingdom (sagsnummer 28957/95), har Den Europæiske Menneskerettigheds Domstol enstemmigt bestemt, at:
  • Der var sket overtrædelse af Artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv) i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention;
  • der var sket overtrædelse af Artikel 12 (ret til at gifte sig og stifte familie);
  • der var ingen særskilte problemer fundet i relation til Artikel 14 (forbud mod forskelsbehandling);
  • der var ikke sket overtrædelse af artikel 13 (retten til effektive retsbehandling).

Domstolen fastslog enstemmigt, at konstateringen af krænkelserne i selv var tilstrækkelige til at tilkende sagsøgeren en erstatning på 39.000 Euro for omkostninger.

1. De vigtigste fakta
Sagsøgeren, Christine Goodwin, en britisk statsborger født i 1937, er en mand til kvinde kønsskifteopereret transseksuel.

Ansøgeren hævdede, at hun havde problemer og var udsat for kønsdiskrimination på arbejdspladsen efter sin kønsskifteoperation. Senest har hun oplevet vanskeligheder med hensyn til sin pensionsforsikring.
Juridisk blev hun stadig betragtet som en mand og skulle derfor betale bidrag til hun fyldte 65 år. Hvis hun havde været anerkendt som en kvinde, ville hun kun skulle have betalt til hun fyldte 60 år i april 1997. Hun havde været nødt til at lave specielle ordninger for at kunne fortsætte med at betale forsikringsbidragene og for at undgå ubehagelige spørgsmål fra arbejdsgiveren om sin anormalitet. Hun hævdede også, at den omstændighed, at hun havde samme identitetsnummer har betydet, at hendes arbejdsgiver var i stand til at opdage, at hun tidligere har arbejdet for dem under et andet navn og køn, med deraf følgende forlegenhed og ydmygelse.

2. Procedure og Domstolens sammensætning
Ansøgningen blev indgivet til den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskommission den 5. juni 1995 og antaget den 1. december 1997. Sagen blev oversendt til den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 1. november 1998. Den 11. september 2001 afgav Tredje Afdeling imidlertid sagen til Den Store Afdeling, der holdt høring i sagen den 20. marts 2002.

Dommen blev afsagt af Den Store Afdeling, der bestod af følgende 17 dommere:

Luzius Wildhaber (Schweiz), formand,
Jean-Paul Costa (fransk),
Nicolas Bratza (British),
Elisabeth Palm (svensk),
Lucius Caflisch (Schweiz),
Riza Türmen (Turkish),
Françoise Tulkens (Belgien),
Karel Jungwiert (tjekkisk),
Marc Fischbach (Luxemburger),
Volodymyr Butkevych (Ukraine),
Nina Vaji? (Kroatien),
John Hedigan (irsk),
Hanne Sophie Greve (norsk),
András Baka (ungarsk),
Kristaq Traja (albansk),
Mindia Ugrekhelidze (Georgien),
Antonella Mularoni (San Marinese), dommere,
og Paul Mahoney, justitssekretær.

3. Resumé af dommen
Sagsøgeren

Sagsøgeren klagede over den manglende juridiske anerkendelse af hendes køn efter hendes kønsskifteoperation og over den juridiske status for transseksuelle i the United Kingdom (England). Hun klagede især over behandling af hende i forhold til beskæftigelse, social sikring og pension, og hendes manglende mulighed for at indgå ægteskab. Hun påberåbte Artiklerne 8, 12, 13 og 14 i konventionen.

Domstolens beslutning
Artikel 8

Selv om sagsøgeren havde gennemgået en kønsskifteoperation efter de forskrifter, som det nationale sundhedsvæsen foreskriver, og har levet i samfundet som kvinde, betegnes hendes køn i retlig henseende som en mand. Det har virkning på hendes liv i alle sammenhænge, hvor kønnet har betydning såsom på pensionsområdet, på pensionsalderen osv. Det er også et alvorligt indgreb i privatlivet, at der er konflikter mellem den sociale virkelighed og de juridiske forhold, som en transseksuel er undergivet, og som opleves med en følelse af sårbarhed, af ydmygelse og angst.
Selv om der ikke findes nogen overbevisende viden med hensyn til årsagen til transseksualisme, fandt Domstolen det mere betydningsfuldt, at betingelserne for behandling havde en bred international anerkendelse.
Det fandtes ikke at have afgørende betydning, at transseksuelle ikke kunne erhverve alle de biologiske egenskaber. Der var klare og ubestridte tegn på en fortsat international tendens til ikke alene øget social accept af transseksuelle, men også af juridisk anerkendelse af den nye kønsidentitet af kønsskifteopererede transseksuelle. Der var intet materiale i sagen, der viste, at tredjemand ville lide nogen væsentlig skade ved en ændring af fødselsregistreringssystemet, så der blev ligestilling for kønsskifteopererede, og Domstolen havde bemærket, at der var drøftelser i gang om en reform af registreringssystemet, som ville tillade ændringer i fødselsattestens indhold.

Medens de vanskeligheder og anormaliteter, som sagsøgeren var udsat for, ikke var på samme niveau, som sagsøgeren i sagen B v. France (dom af 25. marts 1992 nr. A 232), understregede Domstolen, at essensen af konventionen var respekten for menneskets værdighed og frihed. I henhold til Artikel 8 i konventionen, hvor især begrebet personlig frihed var et vigtigt princip i fortolkningen af garantien og beskyttelsen af den personlige frihed, herunder retten til selv at fastlægge sin menneskelige identitet.
I det enogtyvende århundrede, hvor transseksuelles ret til personlig udvikling, fysisk og moralsk sikkerhed i fuldt omfang er anerkendt i samfundet, bør disse forhold ikke skabe kontroverser, som kræver tid at afklare.
Anerkendelse af disse forhold kan findes i rapporten fra den tværfaglige arbejdsgruppe om transseksuelle og i Appeldomstolens dom Bellinger v. Bellinger (EWCA Civ 1140 [2001]).

Selv om Domstolen ikke undervurderede de vigtige konsekvenser, som enhver større ændring i systemet uundgåeligt vil medføre, ikke alene inden for fødselsregistrering, men også inden for familieret, tilhørsforhold, arv, social sikkerhed og forsikring, så er disse problemer ikke uovervindelige, som det også fremgår af arbejdsgruppens forslag. Der er ikke fremlagt nogen konkrete eller væsentlige problemer, som vil være til skade for de offentlige interesser ved at tillade ændring af transseksuelles status som ansøgt, og Domstolen fandt, at samfundet med rimelighed må forvente og acceptere visse besværligheder for at individet kan leve i værdighed og i overensstemmelse med sin selvvalgte kønsidentitet, som giver dem store personlige omkostninger. Trods Domstolensafgørelser siden 1986 og senest i 1998 af betydningen af at følge behovet for passende juridiske tilpasninger begrundet i den videnskabelige og samfundsmæssige udvikling, har den sagsøgte regering faktisk intet gjort. Under henvisning til ovenstående betragtninger fandt Domstolen, at den sagsøgte regering ikke kan påstå, at sagen ligger inden for den skønsmargin, de kan udøve i henhold til konventionen. Det konkluderes, at den fair balance, som er indbygget i konventionen nu vippes afgørende til fordel for sagsøgeren. Der er derfor i strid med Artikel 8 udvist manglende respekt for hendes ret til privatliv.

Artikel 12
Selv om det var rigtigt, at Artikel 12 som nævnt i de udtrykkelige betingelser i konventionen giver en mand og en kvinde ret til at gifte sig, var Domstolen ikke overbevist om andet, end at på tidspunktet, hvor denne sag fandt sted, var disse betingelser begrænset til at omfatte kønnet på rene biologiske kriterier. Der har været store sociale forandringer i opfattelsen af ægteskabet siden vedtagelsen af konventionen, ligesom udviklingen inden for medicin og videnskab har medført store forandringer i kendskabet til transseksualitet.
Domstolen fandt i medfør af Artikel 8 som anført ovenfor, at biologiske forhold ikke længere kunne være afgørende for at nægte juridisk anerkendelse af kønsændringen hos en transseksuel, der havde fået foretaget en kønsskifteoperation. Der var imidlertid også andre vigtige faktorer – at de medicinske sagkyndige og sundhedsmyndighederne anerkendte, at diagnosen kønsidentitetsforstyrrelse var til stede, at muligheden for behandling var til stede inklusive de nødvendige operative indgreb, der skulle til for at bringe personen så tæt som muligt på det køn, som de føler, at de rettelig tilhører, og at det måtte formodes, at den transseksuelle ville kunne fungere socialt i det nye køn.

Uagtet rettighederne i Artikel 8 om respekt for privatlivet ikke opsummerede alle spørgsmålene henhørende under Artikel 12, hvor betingelserne fastlægges til de nationale love, besluttede Domstolen at overveje, om den nationale bestemmelsen om alene at anvende det køn, der blev tildelt ved fødslen i denne sag svækkede selve grundlaget for retten til at gifte sig. I den forbindelse fandt Domstolen, at det var unaturligt at hævde, at kønsskifteopererede transseksuelle ikke var blevet frataget retten til at gifte sig med en person, der var af modsatte køn i forhold til den transseksuelles tidligere køn. Klageren i denne sag levede som kvinde og havde kun ønske om at gifte sig med en mand. Da hun ikke havde mulighed for at gøre dette, kunne hun derfor med rette hæfte, at hendes ret til at gifte sig var blevet krænket. Selv om der er færre lande, der tillader transseksuelle at gifte sig i deres nye køn, end der er lande, som anerkender selve kønsskiftet, fandt Domstolen ikke, at dette støttede argumentet for, at det alene var et nationalt anliggende. Det ville være ensbetydende med at åbne en række af muligheder for staterne til at lave effektive forhindringer mod retten til at gifte sig. Så langt kunne skønsmarginen ikke strækkes. Selv om det er de enkelte stater, der fastsætter de nærmere betingelser for et kønsskifte og for den juridiske anerkendelse af kønsskiftet og vilkårene for ægteskabs indgåelse, fandt Domstolen overhovedet ikke, at der var juridisk grundlag for at fratage transseksuelle ret til at gifte sig.
Det konkluderedes, at der var sket en overtrædelse af Artikel 12.

Artikel 14
Domstolen fandt, at den manglende juridiske anerkendelse af ændringen af køn hos en kønsskifteopereret transseksuel var det væsentligste i sagsøgerens klager i henhold til Artikel 14 i konventionen. Disse forhold var blevet undersøgt forbindelse med gennemgangen af Artikel 8 og resulterede i en konstatering af en overtrædelse af denne bestemmelse. Domstolen fandt ikke nogen særskilte problemstillinger i henhold til artikel 14 og foretog derfor ikke nogen særskilt undersøgelse.

Artikel 13
Retspraksis indikerer, at konventionens Artikel 13 ikke kan fortolkes som et middel til at få Domstolen til at pålægge medlemsstaterne at indarbejde konventionen. Men i og med, at der ikke eksisterede nogen national lovgivning før 2. oktober 2000, og da Menneskerettighedskonventionen trådte i kraft i 1998 var sagsøgerens klager ikke i overensstemmelse med dette princip. Efter denne dato ville det have været muligt for sagsøgeren at rejse sin sag ved en nationale domstol, som ville have haft en række muligheder til rådighed til at pålægge ændringer. Under disse omstændigheder fandtes der ikke at være sket overtrædelse af Artikel 13.

* * *
Herunder gengives hele dommen på engelsk. Der findes ingen oversættelse til dansk.

CASE OF CHRISTINE GOODWIN v. THE UNITED KINGDOM

(Application no. 28957/95)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

11 July 2002



This judgment is final but may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Christine Goodwin v. the United Kingdom,
The European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Grand Chamber composed of the following judges:

Mr L. Wildhaber, President,
Mr J.-P. Costa,
Sir Nicolas Bratza,
Mrs E. Palm,
Mr L. Caflisch,
Mr R. TÜrmen,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mr K. Jungwiert,
Mr M. Fischbach,
Mr V. Butkevych,
Mrs N. Vajic,
Mr J. Hedigan,
Mrs H.S. Greve,
Mr A.B. Baka,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs A. Mularoni, judges,
and also of Mr P. J. Mahoney, Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 20 March and 3 July 2002,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last-mentioned date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in an application (no. 28957/95) against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights (“the Commission”) under former Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a United Kingdom national, Ms Christine Goodwin (“the applicant”), on 5 June 1995.

2. The applicant, who had been granted legal aid, was represented by Bindman & Partners, solicitors practising in London. The United Kingdom Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr D. Walton of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London.

3. The applicant alleged violations of Articles 8, 12, 13 and 14 of the Convention in respect of the legal status of transsexuals in the United Kingdom and particularly their treatment in the sphere of employment, social security, pensions and marriage.

4. The application was declared admissible by the Commission on 1 December 1997 and transmitted to the Court on 1 November 1999 in accordance with Article 5 § 3, second sentence, of Protocol No. 11 to the Convention, the Commission not having completed its examination of the case by that date.

5. The application was allocated to the Third Section of the Court (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court).

6. The applicant and the Government each filed observations on the merits (Rule 59 § 1).

7. On 11 September 2001, a Chamber of that Section, composed of the following judges: Mr J.-P. Costa, Mr W. Fuhrmann, Mr P. Kuris, Mrs F. Tulkens, Mr K. Jungwiert, Sir Nicolas Bratza and Mr K. Traja, and also of Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar, relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber, neither of the parties having objected to relinquishment (Article 30 of the Convention and Rule 72).

8. The composition of the Grand Chamber was determined according to the provisions of Article 27 §§ 2 and 3 of the Convention and Rule 24 of the Rules of Court. The President of the Court decided that in the interests of the proper administration of justice, the case should be assigned to the Grand Chamber that had been constituted to hear the case of I. v. the United Kingdom (application no. 25680/94) (Rules 24, 43 § 2 and 71).

9. The applicant and the Government each filed a memorial on the merits. In addition, third-party comments were received from Liberty, which had been given leave by the President to intervene in the written procedure (Article 36 § 2 of the Convention and Rule 61 § 3).

10. A hearing in this case and the case of I. v. the United Kingdom (no. 25680/94) took place in public in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 20 March 2002 (Rule 59 § 2).

There appeared before the Court:

(a) for the Government
Mr D. Walton, Agent,
Mr Rabinder Singh, Counsel,
Mr J. Strachan, Counsel,
Mr C. Lloyd,
Ms A. Powick,
Ms S. Eisa, Advisers;

(b) for the applicant
Ms L. Cox, Q.C., Counsel,
Mr T. Eicke, Counsel,
Ms J. Sohrab, Solicitor.

The applicant was also present.
The Court heard addresses by Ms Cox and Mr Rabinder Singh.
11. On 3 July 2002, Mrs Tsatsa-Nikolovska and Mr Zagrebelsky who were unable to take part in further consideration of the case, were replaced by Mrs Mularoni and Mr Caflisch.

THE FACTS

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

12. The applicant is a United Kingdom citizen born in 1937 and is a post-operative male to female transsexual.

13. The applicant had a tendency to dress as a woman from early childhood and underwent aversion therapy in 1963-64. In the mid-1960s, she was diagnosed as a transsexual. Though she married a woman and they had four children, her conviction was that her “brain sex” did not fit her body. From that time until 1984 she dressed as a man for work but as a woman in her free time. In January 1985, the applicant began treatment in earnest, attending appointments once every three months at the Gender Identity Clinic at the Charing Cross Hospital, which included regular consultations with a psychiatrist as well as on occasion a psychologist. She was prescribed hormone therapy, began attending grooming classes and voice training. Since this time, she has lived fully as a woman. In October 1986, she underwent surgery to shorten her vocal chords. In August 1987, she was accepted on the waiting list for gender re-assignment surgery. In 1990, she underwent gender re-assignment surgery at a National Health Service hospital. Her treatment and surgery was provided for and paid for by the National Health Service.

14. The applicant divorced from her former wife on a date unspecified but continued to enjoy the love and support of her children.

15. The applicant claims that between 1990 and 1992 she was sexually harassed by colleagues at work. She attempted to pursue a case of sexual harassment in the Industrial Tribunal but claimed that she was unsuccessful because she was considered in law to be a man. She did not challenge this decision by appealing to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The applicant was subsequently dismissed from her employment for reasons connected with her health, but alleges that the real reason was that she was a transsexual.

16. In 1996, the applicant started work with a new employer and was required to provide her National Insurance (“NI”) number. She was concerned that the new employer would be in a position to trace her details as once in the possession of the number it would have been possible to find out about her previous employers and obtain information from them. Although she requested the allocation of a new NI number from the Department of Social Security (“DSS”), this was rejected and she eventually gave the new employer her NI number. The applicant claims that the new employer has now traced back her identity as she began experiencing problems at work. Colleagues stopped speaking to her and she was told that everyone was talking about her behind her back.

17. The DSS Contributions Agency informed the applicant that she would be ineligible for a State pension at the age of 60, the age of entitlement for women in the United Kingdom. In April 1997, the DSS informed the applicant that her pension contributions would have to be continued until the date at which she reached the age of 65, being the age of entitlement for men, namely April 2002. On 23 April 1997, she therefore entered into an undertaking with the DSS to pay direct the NI contributions which would otherwise be deducted by her employer as for all male employees. In the light of this undertaking, on 2 May 1997, the DSS Contributions Agency issued the applicant with a Form CF 384 Age Exemption Certificate (see Relevant domestic law and practice below).

18. The applicant’s files at the DSS were marked “sensitive” to ensure that only an employee of a particular grade had access to her files. This meant in practice that the applicant had to make special appointments for even the most trivial matters and could not deal directly with the local office or deal with queries over the telephone. Her record continues to state her sex as male and despite the “special procedures” she has received letters from the DSS addressed to the male name which she was given at birth.

19. In a number of instances, the applicant stated that she has had to choose between revealing her birth certificate and foregoing certain advantages which were conditional upon her producing her birth certificate. In particular, she has not followed through a loan conditional upon life insurance, a re-mortgage offer and an entitlement to winter fuel allowance from the DSS. Similarly, the applicant remains obliged to pay the higher motor insurance premiums applicable to men. Nor did she feel able to report a theft of 200 pounds sterling to the police, for fear that the investigation would require her to reveal her identity.

II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE

A. Names
20. Under English law, a person is entitled to adopt such first names or surname as he or she wishes. Such names are valid for the purposes of identification and may be used in passports, driving licences, medical and insurance cards, etc. The new names are also entered on the electoral roll.

B. Marriage and definition of gender in domestic law
21. Under English law, marriage is defined as the voluntary union between a man and a woman. In the case of Corbett v. Corbett ([1971] Probate Reports 83), Mr Justice Ormrod ruled that sex for that purpose is to be determined by the application of chromosomal, gonadal and genital tests where these are congruent and without regard to any surgical intervention. This use of biological criteria to determine sex was approved by the Court of Appeal in R. v. Tan ([1983] Queen’s Bench Reports 1053) and given more general application, the court holding that a person born male had been correctly convicted under a statute penalising men who live on the earnings of prostitution, notwithstanding the fact that the accused had undergone gender reassignment therapy.

22. Under section 11(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, any marriage where the parties are not respectively male and female is void. The test applied as to the sex of the partners to a marriage is that laid down in the above-mentioned case of Corbett v. Corbett. According to that same decision a marriage between a male-to-female transsexual and a man might also be avoided on the basis that the transsexual was incapable of consummating the marriage in the context of ordinary and complete sexual intercourse (obiter per Mr Justice Ormrod).

This decision was reinforced by Section 12(a) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, according to which a marriage that has not been consummated owing to the incapacity of either party to consummate may be voidable. Section 13(1) of the Act provides that the court must not grant a decree of nullity if it is satisfied that the petitioner knew the marriage was voidable, but led the respondent to believe that she would not seek a decree of nullity, and that it would be unjust to grant the decree.

C. Birth certificates
23. Registration of births is governed by the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 (“the 1953 Act”). Section 1(1) of that Act requires that the birth of every child be registered by the Registrar of Births and Deaths for the area in which the child is born. An entry is regarded as a record of the facts at the time of birth. A birth certificate accordingly constitutes a document revealing not current identity but historical facts.

24. The sex of the child must be entered on the birth certificate. The criteria for determining the sex of a child at birth are not defined in the Act. The practice of the Registrar is to use exclusively the biological criteria (chromosomal, gonadal and genital) as laid down by Mr Justice Ormrod in the above-mentioned case of Corbett v. Corbett.

25. The 1953 Act provides for the correction by the Registrar of clerical errors or factual errors. The official position is that an amendment may only be made if the error occurred when the birth was registered. The fact that it may become evident later in a person’s life that his or her “psychological” sex is in conflict with the biological criteria is not considered to imply that the initial entry at birth was a factual error. Only in cases where the apparent and genital sex of a child was wrongly identified, or where the biological criteria were not congruent, can a change in the initial entry be made. It is necessary for that purpose to adduce medical evidence that the initial entry was incorrect. No error is accepted to exist in the birth entry of a person who undergoes medical and surgical treatment to enable that person to assume the role of the opposite sex.

26. The Government point out that the use of a birth certificate for identification purposes is discouraged by the Registrar General, and for a number of years birth certificates have contained a warning that they are not evidence of the identity of the person presenting it. However, it is a matter for individuals whether to follow this recommendation.

D. Social security, employment and pensions
27. A transsexual continues to be recorded for social security, national insurance and employment purposes as being of the sex recorded at birth.

1. National Insurance

28. The DSS registers every British citizen for National Insurance purposes (“NI”) on the basis of the information in their birth certificate. Non-British citizens who wish to register for NI in the United Kingdom may use their passport or identification card as evidence of identity if a birth certificate is unavailable.

29. The DSS allocates every person registered for NI with a unique NI number. The NI number has a standard format consisting of two letters followed by three pairs of numbers and a further letter. It contains no indication in itself of the holder’s sex or of any other personal information. The NI number is used to identify each person with a NI account (there are at present approximately 60 million individual NI accounts). The DSS are thereby able to record details of all NI contributions paid into the account during the NI account holder’s life and to monitor each person’s liabilities, contributions and entitlement to benefits accurately. New numbers may in exceptional cases be issued to persons e.g. under the witness protection schemes or to protect the identity of child offenders.

30. Under Regulation 44 of the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 1979, made under powers conferred by paragraph 8(1)(p) of Schedule 1 to the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, specified individuals are placed under an obligation to apply for a NI number unless one has already been allocated to them.

31. Under Regulation 45 of the 1979 Regulations, an employee is under an obligation to supply his NI number to his employer on request.

32. Section 112(1) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 provides:

“(1) If a person for the purpose of obtaining any benefit or other payment under the legislation…[as defined in section 110 of the Act]… whether for himself or some other person, or for any other purpose connected with that legislation –

(a) makes a statement or representation which he knows to be false; or

(b) produces or furnishes, or knowingly causes or knowingly allows to be produced or furnished, any document or information which he knows to be false in a material particular, he shall be guilty of an offence.”

33. It would therefore be an offence under this section for any person to make a false statement in order to obtain a NI number.

34. Any person may adopt such first name, surname or style of address (e.g. Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms) that he or she wishes for the purposes of the name used for NI registration. The DSS will record any such amendments on the person’s computer records, manual records and NI number card. But, the DSS operates a policy of only issuing one NI number for each person regardless of any changes that occur to that person’s sexual identity through procedures such as gender re-assignment surgery. A renewed application for leave to apply for judicial review of the legality of this policy brought by a male-to-female transsexual was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in the case of R v. Secretary of State for Social Services ex parte Hooker (1993) (unreported). McCowan LJ giving the judgment of the Court stated (at page 3 of the transcript):

“…since it will not make the slightest practical difference, far from the Secretary of State’s decision being an irrational one, I consider it a perfectly rational decision. I would further reject the suggestion that the applicant had a legitimate expectation that a new number would be given to her for psychological purposes when, in fact, its practical effect would be nil.”

35. Information held in the DSS NI records is confidential and will not normally be disclosed to third parties without the consent of the person concerned. Exceptions are possible in cases where the public interest is at stake or the disclosure is necessary to protect public funds. By virtue of Section 123 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, it is an offence for any person employed in social security administration to disclose without lawful authority information acquired in the course of his or her employment.

36. The DSS operates a policy of normally marking records belonging to persons known to be transsexual as nationally sensitive. Access to these records is controlled by DSS management. Any computer printer output from these records will normally be referred to a special section within the DSS to ensure that identity details conform with those requested by the relevant person.

37. NI contributions are made by way of deduction from an employee’s pay by the employer and then by payment to the Inland Revenue (for onward transmission to the DSS). Employers at present will make such deductions for a female employee until she reaches the pensionable age of 60 and for a male employee until he reaches the pensionable age of 65. The DSS operates a policy for male-to-female transsexuals whereby they may enter into an undertaking with the DSS to pay direct to the DSS any NI contributions due after the transsexual has reached the age of 60 which have ceased to be deducted by the employer in the belief that the employee is female. In the case of female-to-male transsexuals, any deductions which are made by an employer after the age of 60 may be reclaimed directly from the DSS by the employee.

38. In some cases employers will require proof that an apparent female employee has reached, or is about to reach, the age of 60 and so entitled not to have the NI deductions made. Such proof may be provided in the form of an Age Exemption Certificate (form CA4180 or CF384). The DSS may issue such a certificate to a male-to-female transsexual where such a person enters into an undertaking to pay any NI contributions direct to the DSS.

2. State pensions

39. A male-to-female transsexual is currently entitled to a State pension at the retirement age of 65 applied to men and not the age of 60 which is applicable to women. A full pension will be payable only if she has made contributions for 44 years as opposed to the 39 years required of women.

40. A person’s sex for the purposes of pensionable age is determined according to biological sex at birth. This approach was approved by the Social Security Commissioner (a judicial officer, who specialises in social security law) in a number of cases:

In the case entitled R(P) 2/80, a male-to-female transsexual claimed entitlement to a pensionable age of 60. The Commissioner dismissed the claimant’s appeal and stated at paragraph 9 of his decision:

“(a) In my view, the word “woman” in section 27 of the Act means a person who is biologically a woman. Sections 28 and 29 contain many references to a woman in terms which indicate that a person is denoted who is capable of forming a valid marriage with a husband. That can only be a person who is biologically a woman.

(b) I doubt whether the distinction between a person who is biologically, and one who is socially, female has ever been present in the minds of the legislators when enacting relevant statutes. However that may be, it is certain that Parliament has never conferred on any person the right or privilege of changing the basis of his national insurance rights from those appropriate to a man to those appropriate to a woman. In my judgment, such a fundamental right or privilege would have to be expressly granted….

(d) I fully appreciate the unfortunate predicament of the claimant, but the merits are not all on her side. She lived as a man from birth until 1975, and, during the part of that period when she was adult, her insurance rights were those appropriate to a man. These rights are in some respects more extensive than those appropriate to a woman. Accordingly, an element of unfairness to the general public might have to be tolerated so as to allow the payment of a pension to her at the pensionable age of a woman.”

41. The Government have instituted plans to eradicate the difference between men and women concerning age of entitlement to State pensions. Equalisation of the pension age is to begin in 2010 and it is anticipated that by 2020 the transition will be complete. As regards the issue of free bus passes in London, which also differentiated between men and women concerning age of eligibility (65 and 60 respectively), the Government have also announced plans to introduce a uniform age.

3. Employment

42. Under section 16(1) of the Theft Act 1968, it is a criminal offence liable to a sentence of imprisonment to dishonestly obtain a pecuniary advantage by deception. Pecuniary advantage includes, under section 16(2)(c), being given the opportunity to earn remuneration in employment. Should a post-operative transsexual be asked by a prospective employer to disclose all their previous names, but fail to make full disclosure before entering into a contract of employment, an offence might be committed. Furthermore, should the employer discover the lack of full disclosure, there might also be a risk of dismissal or an action by the employer for damages.

43. In its judgment of 30 April 1996, in the case of P. v. S. and Cornwall County Council, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that discrimination arising from gender reassignment constituted discrimination on grounds of sex and, accordingly, Article 5 § 1 of Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion and working conditions, precluded dismissal of a transsexual for a reason related to a gender reassignment. The ECJ held, rejecting the argument of the United Kingdom Government that the employer would also have dismissed P. if P. had previously been a woman and had undergone an operation to become a man, that

“… where a person is dismissed on the ground that he or she intends to undergo or has undergone gender reassignment, he or she is treated unfavourably by comparison with persons of the sex to which he or she was deemed to belong before undergoing gender reassignment.

To tolerate such discrimination would be tantamount, as regards such a person, to a failure to respect the dignity and freedom to which he or she is entitled and which the Court has a duty to safeguard.” (paragraphs 21-22)

44. The ruling of the ECJ was applied by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a decision handed down on 27 June 1997 (Chessington World of Adventures Ltd v. Reed [1997] 1 Industrial Law Reports).

45. The Sexual Discrimination (Gender Re-assignment) Regulations 1999 were issued to comply with the ruling of the European Court of Justice in P. v. S. and Cornwall County Council (30 April 1996). This provides generally that transsexual persons should not be treated less favourably in employment because they are transsexual (whether pre- or post-operative).

E. Rape

46. Prior to 1994, for the purposes of the law of rape, a male-to-female transsexual would have been regarded as a male. Pursuant to section 142 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, for rape to be established there has to be “vaginal or anal intercourse with a person”. In a judgment of 28 October 1996, the Reading Crown Court found that penile penetration of a male to female transsexual’s artificially constructed vagina amounted to rape: R. v. Matthews (unreported).

F. Imprisonment

47. Prison rules require that male and female prisoners shall normally be detained separately and also that no prisoner shall be stripped and searched in the sight of a person of the opposite sex (Rules 12(1) and 41(3) of the Prison Rules 1999 respectively).

48. According to the Report of the Working Group on Transsexual People (Home Office April 2000, see further below, paragraphs 49-50), which conducted a review of law and practice, post-operative transsexuals where possible were allocated to an establishment for prisoners of their new gender. Detailed guidelines concerning the searching of transsexual prisoners were under consideration by which post-operative male to female transsexuals would be treated as women for the purposes of searches and searched only by women (see paragraphs 2.75-2.76).

G. Current developments

1. Review of the situation of transsexuals in the United Kingdom

49. On 14 April 1999, the Secretary of State for the Home Department announced the establishment of an Interdepartmental Working Group on Transsexual People with the following terms of reference:

“to consider, with particular reference to birth certificates, the need for appropriate legal measures to address the problems experienced by transsexuals, having due regard to scientific and societal developments, and measures undertaken in other countries to deal with this issue.”

50. The Working Group produced a report in April 2000 in which it examined the current position of transsexuals in the United Kingdom, with particular reference to their status under national law and the changes which might be made. It concluded:

“5.1. Transsexual people deal with their condition in different ways. Some live in the opposite sex without any treatment to acquire its physical attributes. Others take hormones so as to obtain some of the secondary characteristics of their chosen sex. A smaller number will undergo surgical procedures to make their bodies resemble, so far as possible, those of their acquired gender. The extent of treatment may be determined by individual choice, or by other factors such as health or financial resources. Many people revert to their biological sex after living for some time in the opposite sex, and some alternate between the two sexes throughout their lives. Consideration of the way forward must therefore take into account the needs of people at these different stages of change.

5.2. Measures have already been taken in a number of areas to assist transsexual people. For example, discrimination in employment against people on the basis of their transsexuality has been prohibited by the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 which, with few exceptions, provide that a transsexual person (whether pre- or post-operative) should not be treated less favourably because they are transsexual. The criminal justice system (i.e. the police, prisons, courts, etc.) try to accommodate the needs of transsexual people so far as is possible within operational constraints. A transsexual offender will normally be charged in their acquired gender, and a post-operative prisoner will usually be sent to a prison appropriate to their new status. Transsexual victims and witnesses will, in most circumstances, similarly be treated as belonging to their acquired gender.

5.3. In addition, official documents will often be issued in the acquired gender where the issue is identifying the individual rather than legal status. Thus, a transsexual person may obtain a passport, driving licence, medical card etc, in their new gender. We understand that many non-governmental bodies, such as examination authorities, will often re-issue examination certificates etc. (or otherwise provide evidence of qualifications) showing the required gender. We also found that at least one insurance company will issue policies to transsexual people in their acquired gender.

5.4. Notwithstanding such provisions, transsexual people are conscious of certain problems which do not have to be faced by the majority of the population. Submissions to the Group suggested that the principal areas where the transsexual community is seeking change are birth certificates, the right to marry and full recognition of their new gender for all legal purposes.

5.5. We have identified three options for the future;
– to leave the current situation unchanged;
– to issue birth certificates showing the new name and, possibly, the new gender;
– to grant full legal recognition of the new gender subject to certain criteria and procedures.
We suggest that before taking a view on these options the Government may wish to put the issues out to public consultation.”

51. The report was presented to Parliament in July 2000. Copies were placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament and sent to 280 recipients, including Working Group members, Government officials, Members of Parliament, individuals and organisations. It was publicised by a Home Office press notice and made available to members of the public through application to the Home Office in writing, E-mail, by telephone or the Home Office web site.

2. Recent domestic case-law

52. In the case of Bellinger v. Bellinger, EWCA Civ 1140 [2001], 3 FCR 1, the appellant who had been classified at birth as a man had undergone gender re-assignment surgery and in 1981 had gone through a form of marriage with a man who was aware of her background. She sought a declaration under the Family Law Act 1986 that the marriage was valid. The Court of Appeal held, by a majority, that the appellant’s marriage was invalid as the parties were not respectively male and female, which terms were to be determined by biological criteria as set out in the decision of Corbett v. Corbett [1971]. Although it was noted that there was an increasing emphasis upon the impact of psychological factors on gender, there was no clear point at which such factors could be said to have effected a change of gender. A person correctly registered as male at birth, who had undergone gender reassignment surgery and was now living as a woman was biologically a male and therefore could not be defined as female for the purposes of marriage. It was for Parliament, not for the courts, to decide at what point it would be appropriate to recognise that a person who had been assigned to one sex at birth had changed gender for the purposes of marriage. Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, President of the Family Division noted the warnings of the European Court of Human Rights about continued lack of response to the situation of transsexuals and observed that largely as a result of these criticisms an interdepartmental working group had been set up, which had in April 2000 issued a careful and comprehensive review of the medical condition, current practice in other countries and the state of English law in relevant aspects of the life of an individual:

“[95.]… We inquired of Mr Moylan on behalf of the Attorney-General, what steps were being taken by any government department, to take forward any of the recommendations of the Report, or to prepare a consultation paper for public discussion.

[96.] To our dismay, we were informed that no steps whatsoever have been, or to the knowledge of Mr Moylan, were intended to be, taken to carry this matter forward. It appears, therefore, that the commissioning and completion of the report is the sum of the activity on the problems identified both by the Home Secretary in his terms of reference, and by the conclusions of the members of the working group. That would seem to us to be a failure to recognise the increasing concerns and changing attitudes across western Europe which have been set out so clearly and strongly in judgments of Members of the European Court at Strasbourg, and which in our view need to be addressed by the UK…

[109.] We would add however, with the strictures of the European Court of Human Rights well in mind, that there is no doubt that the profoundly unsatisfactory nature of the present position and the plight of transsexuals requires careful consideration. The recommendation of the interdepartmental working group for public consultation merits action by the government departments involved in these issues. The problems will not go away and may well come again before the European Court sooner rather than later.”

53. In his dissenting judgment, Lord Justice Thorpe considered that the foundations of the judgment in Corbett v. Corbett were no longer secure, taking the view that an approach restricted to biological criteria was no longer permissible in the light of scientific, medical and social change.

“[155.] To make the chromosomal factor conclusive, or even dominant, seems to me particularly questionable in the context of marriage. For it is an invisible feature of an individual, incapable of perception or registration other than by scientific test. It makes no contribution to the physiological or psychological self. Indeed in the context of the institution of marriage as it is today it seems to me right as a matter of principle and logic to give predominance to psychological factors just as it seem right to carry out the essential assessment of gender at or shortly before the time of marriage rather than at the time of birth…

[160.] The present claim lies most evidently in the territory of the family justice system. That system must always be sufficiently flexible to accommodate social change. It must also be humane and swift to recognise the right to human dignity and to freedom of choice in the individual’s private life. One of the objectives of statute law reform in this field must be to ensure that the law reacts to and reflects social change. That must also be an objective of the judges in this field in the construction of existing statutory provisions. I am strongly of the opinion that there are not sufficiently compelling reasons, having regard to the interests of others affected or, more relevantly, the interests of society as a whole, to deny this appellant legal recognition of her marriage. I would have allowed this appeal.”

He also noted the lack of progress in domestic reforms:

“[151.]…although the [interdepartmental] report has been made available by publication, Mr Moylan said that there has since been no public consultation. Furthermore when asked whether the Government had any present intention of initiating public consultation or any other process in preparation for a parliamentary Bill, Mr Moylan said that he had no instructions. Nor did he have any instructions as to whether the Government intended to legislate. My experience over the last 10 years suggests how hard it is for any department to gain a slot for family law reform by primary legislation. These circumstances reinforce my view that it is not only open to the court but it is its duty to construe s 11(c) either strictly, alternatively liberally as the evidence and the submissions in this case justify.”

3. Proposals to reform the system of registration of births, marriages and deaths

54. In January 2002, the Government presented to Parliament the document “Civil Registration: Vital Change (Birth, Marriage and Death Registration in the 21st Century)” which set out plans for creating a central database of registration records which moves away from a traditional snapshot of life events towards the concept of a living record or single “through life” record:

“In time, updating the information in a birth record will mean that changes to a person’s names, and potentially, sex will be able to be recorded.” (para. 5.1)

“5.5 Making changes

There is strong support for some relaxation to the rules that govern corrections to the records. Currently, once a record has been created, the only corrections that can be made are where it can be shown that an error was made at the time of registration and that this can be established. Correcting even the simplest spelling error requires formal procedures and the examination of appropriate evidence. The final records contains the full original and corrected information which is shown on subsequently issued certificates. The Government recognises that this can act as a disincentive. In future, changes (to reflect developments after the original record was made) will be made and formally recorded. Documents issued from the records will contain only the information as amended, though all the information will be retained….”

H. Liberty’s third party intervention

55. Liberty updated the written observations submitted in the case of Sheffield and Horsham concerning the legal recognition of transsexuals in comparative law Sheffield v. Horsham v. the United Kingdom judgment of 30 July 1998, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1998-V, p. 2021, § 35. In its 1998 study, it had found that over the previous decade there had been an unmistakable trend in the member States of the Council of Europe towards giving full legal recognition to gender re-assignment. In particular, it noted that out of thirty seven countries analysed only four (including the United Kingdom) did not permit a change to be made to a person’s birth certificate in one form or another to reflect the re-assigned sex of that person. In cases where gender re-assignment was legal and publicly funded, only the United Kingdom and Ireland did not give full legal recognition to the new gender identity.

56. In its follow up study submitted on 17 January 2002, Liberty noted that while there had not been a statistical increase in States giving full legal recognition of gender re-assignment within Europe, information from outside Europe showed developments in this direction. For example, there had been statutory recognition of gender re-assignment in Singapore, and a similar pattern of recognition in Canada, South Africa, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and all except two of the States of the United States of America. It cited in particular the cases of Attorney-General v. Otahuhu Family Court [1995] 1 NZLR 60 and Re Kevin [2001] FamCA 1074 where in New Zealand and Australia transsexual persons’ assigned sex was recognised for the purposes of validating their marriages: In the latter case, Mr Justice Chisholm held:

“I see no basis in legal principle or policy why Australian law should follow the decision in Corbett. To do so would, I think, create indefensible inconsistencies between Australian marriage law and other Australian laws. It would take the law in a direction that is generally contrary to development in other countries. It would perpetuate a view that flies in the face of current medical understanding and practice. Most of all, it would impose indefensible suffering on people who have already had more than their share of difficulty, with no benefit to society…

…Because the words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ have their ordinary contemporary meaning, there is no formulaic solution to determining the sex of an individual for the purpose of the law of marriage. That is, it cannot be said as a matter of law that the question in a particular case will be determined by applying a single criterion, or limited list of criteria. Thus it is wrong to say that a person’s sex depends on any single factor, such as chromosomes or genital sex; or some limited range of factors, such as the state of the person’s gonads, chromosomes or genitals (whether at birth or at some other time). Similarly, it would be wrong in law to say that the question can be resolved by reference solely to the person’s psychological state, or by identifying the person’s ‘brain sex’.

To determine a person’s sex for the law of marriage, all relevant matters need to be considered. I do not seek to state a complete list or suggest that any factors necessarily have more importance than others. However the relevant matters include, in my opinion, the person’s biological and physical characteristics at birth (including gonads, genitals and chromosomes); the person’s life experiences, including the sex in which he or she was brought up and the person’s attitude to it; the person’s self-perception as a man or a woman; the extent to which the person has functioned in society as a man or a woman; any hormonal, surgical or other medical sex re-assignment treatments the person has undergone, and the consequences of such treatment; and the person’s biological, psychological and physical characteristics at the time of the marriage…

For the purpose of ascertaining the validity of a marriage under Australian law the question whether a person is a man or a woman is to be determined as of the date of marriage…”

57. As regarded the eligibility of post-operative transsexuals to marry a person of sex opposite to their acquired gender, Liberty’s survey indicated that 54% of Contracting States permitted such marriage (Annex 6 listed Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine), while 14% did not (Ireland and the United Kingdom did not permit marriage, while no legislation existed in Moldova, Poland, Romania and Russia). The legal position in the remaining 32% was unclear.

III. INTERNATIONAL TEXTS

58. Article 9 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, signed on 7 December 2000, provides:

“The right to marry and the right to found a family shall be guaranteed in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of these rights.”

THE LAW

I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION

59. The applicant claims a violation of Article 8 of the Convention, the relevant part of which provides as follows:

“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private… life…

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

A. Arguments of the parties

1. The applicant

60. The applicant submitted that despite warnings from the Court as to the importance for keeping under review the need for legal reform the Government had still not taken any constructive steps to address the suffering and distress experienced by the applicant and other post-operative transsexuals. The lack of legal recognition of her changed gender had been the cause of numerous discriminatory and humiliating experiences in her everyday life. In the past, in particular from 1990 to 1992, she was abused at work and did not receive proper protection against discrimination. She claimed that all the special procedures through which she had to go in respect of her NI contributions and State retirement pension constituted in themselves an unjustified difference in treatment, as they would have been unnecessary had she been recognised as a woman for legal purposes. In particular, the very fact that the DSS operated a policy of marking the records of transsexuals as sensitive was a difference in treatment. As a result, for example, the applicant cannot attend the DSS without having to make a special appointment.

61. The applicant further submitted that the danger of her employer learning about her past identity was real. It was possible for the employer to trace back her employment history on the basis of her NI number and this had in fact happened. She claimed that her recent failure to obtain a promotion was the result of the employer realising her status.

62. As regarded pensionable age, the applicant submitted that she had worked for 44 years and that the refusal of her entitlement to a State retirement pension at the age of 60 on the basis of the pure biological test for determining sex was contrary to Article 8 of the Convention. She was similarly unable to apply for a free London bus pass at the age of 60 as other women were but had to wait until the age of 65. She was also required to declare her birth sex or disclose her birth certificate when applying for life insurance, mortgages, private pensions or car insurance, which led her not to pursue these possibilities to her advantage.

63. The applicant argued that rapid changes, in respect of the scientific understanding of, and the social attitude towards, transsexualism were taking place not only across Europe but elsewhere. She referred, inter alia, to Article 29 of the Netherlands Civil Code, Article 6 of Law No. 164 of 14 April 1982 of Italy, and Article 29 of the Civil Code of Turkey as amended by Law No. 3444 of 4 May 1988, which allowed the amendment of civil status. Also, under a 1995 New Zealand statute, Part V, Section 28, a court could order the legal recognition of the changed gender of a transsexual after examination of medical and other evidence. The applicant saw no convincing reason why a similar approach should not be adopted in the United Kingdom. The applicant also pointed to increasing social acceptance of transsexuals and interest in issues of concern to them reflected by coverage in the press, radio and television, including sympathetic dramatisation of transsexual characters in mainstream programming.

2. The Government

64. Referring to the Court’s case-law, the Government maintained that there was no generally accepted approach among the Contracting States in respect of transsexuality and that, in view of the margin of appreciation left to States under the Convention, the lack of recognition in the United Kingdom of the applicant’s new gender identity for legal purposes did not entail a violation of Article 8 of the Convention. They disputed the applicant’s assertion that scientific research and “massive societal changes” had led to wide acceptance, or consensus on issues, of transsexualism.

65. The Government accepted that there may be specific instances where the refusal to grant legal recognition of a transsexual’s new sexual identity may amount to a breach of Article 8, in particular where the transsexual as a result suffered practical and actual detriment and humiliation on a daily basis (see the B. v. France judgment of 25 March 1992, Series A no. 232-C, pp. 52-54, §§ 59-63). However, they denied that the applicant faced any comparable practical disadvantages, as she had been able inter alia to obtain important identification documents showing her chosen names and sexual identity (e.g. new passport and driving licence).

66. As regards the specific difficulties claimed by the applicant, the Government submitted that an employer was unable to establish the sex of the applicant from the NI number itself since it did not contain any encoded reference to her sex. The applicant had been issued with a new NI card with her changed name and style of address. Furthermore, the DSS had a policy of confidentiality of the personal details of a NI number holder and, in particular, a policy and procedure for the special protection of transsexuals. As a result, an employer had no means of lawfully obtaining information from the DSS about the previous sexual identity of an employee. It was also in their view highly unlikely that the applicant’s employer would discover her change of gender through her NI number in any other way. The refusal to issue a new NI number was justified, the uniqueness of the NI number being of critical importance in the administration of the national insurance system, and for the prevention of the fraudulent use of old NI numbers.

67. The Government argued that the applicant’s fear that her previous sexual identity would be revealed upon reaching the age of 60, when her employer would no longer be required to make NI contribution deductions from her pay, was entirely without foundation, the applicant having already been issued with a suitable Age Exemption Certificate on Form CF384.

68. Concerning the impossibility for the applicant to obtain a State retirement pension at the age of 60, the Government submitted that the distinction between men and women as regarded pension age had been held to be compatible with European Community law (Article 7(1)(a) of Directive 79/7/EEC; European Court of Justice, R. v. Secretary of State for Social Security ex parte Equal Opportunities Commission Case C-9/91 [1992] ECR I-4927). Also, since the preserving of the applicant’s legal status as a man was not contrary as such to Article 8 of the Convention, it would constitute favourable treatment unfair to the general public to allow the applicant’s pension entitlement at the age of 60.

69. Finally, as regards allegations of assault and abuse at work, the Government submitted that the applicant could have pressed charges under the criminal law against harassment and assault. Harassment in the workplace on the grounds of transsexuality would also give rise to a claim under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 where the employers knew of the harassment and took no steps to prevent it. Adequate protection was therefore available under domestic law.

70. The Government submitted that a fair balance had therefore been struck between the rights of the individual and the general interest of the community. To the extent that there were situations where a transsexual may face limited disclosure of their change of sex, these situations were unavoidable and necessary e.g. in the context of contracts of insurance where medical history and gender affected the calculation of premiums.

B. The Court’s assessment

1. Preliminary considerations

71. This case raises the issue whether or not the respondent State has failed to comply with a positive obligation to ensure the right of the applicant, a post-operative male to female transsexual, to respect for her private life, in particular through the lack of legal recognition given to her gender re-assignment.

72. The Court recalls that the notion of “respect” as understood in Article 8 is not clear cut, especially as far as the positive obligations inherent in that concept are concerned: having regard to the diversity of practices followed and the situations obtaining in the Contracting States, the notion’s requirements will vary considerably from case to case and the margin of appreciation to be accorded to the authorities may be wider than that applied in other areas under the Convention. In determining whether or not a positive obligation exists, regard must also be had to the fair balance that has to be struck between the general interest of the community and the interests of the individual, the search for which balance is inherent in the whole of the Convention – Cossey v. the United Kingdom judgment of 27 September 1990, Series A no. 184, p. 15, § 37.

73. The Court recalls that it has already examined complaints about the position of transsexuals in the United Kingdom (see the Rees v. The United Kingdom judgment of 17 October 1986, Series A no. 106, the Cossey v. the United Kingdom judgment, cited above; the X, Y og Z v. The United Kingdom judgment of 22 April 1997, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997-II, and the Sheffield v. Horsham v. the United Kingdom judgment of 30 July 1998, Reports 1998-V, p. 2011). In those cases, it held that the refusal of the United Kingdom Government to alter the register of births or to issue birth certificates whose contents and nature differed from those of the original entries concerning the recorded gender of the individual could not be considered as an interference with the right to respect for private life (the above-mentioned Rees judgment, p. 14, § 35, and Cossey judgment, p. 15, § 36). It also held that there was no positive obligation on the Government to alter their existing system for the registration of births by establishing a new system or type of documentation to provide proof of current civil status. Similarly, there was no duty on the Government to permit annotations to the existing register of births, or to keep any such annotation secret from third parties (the above-mentioned Rees judgment, p. 17, § 42, and Cossey judgment, p. 15, §§ 38-39). It was found in those cases that the authorities had taken steps to minimise intrusive enquiries (for example, by allowing transsexuals to be issued with driving licences, passports and other types of documents in their new name and gender). Nor had it been shown that the failure to accord general legal recognition of the change of gender had given rise in the applicants’ own case histories to detriment of sufficient seriousness to override the respondent State’s margin of appreciation in this area (the Sheffield and Horsham judgment cited above, p. 2028-29, § 59).

74. While the Court is not formally bound to follow its previous judgments, it is in the interests of legal certainty, foreseeability and equality before the law that it should not depart, without good reason, from precedents laid down in previous cases (see, for example, Chapman v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 27238/95, ECHR 2001-I, § 70). However, since the Convention is first and foremost a system for the protection of human rights, the Court must have regard to the changing conditions within the respondent State and within Contracting States generally and respond, for example, to any evolving convergence as to the standards to be achieved (see, amongst other authorities, the Cossey judgment, p. 14, § 35, and Stafford v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 46295/99, judgment of 28 May 2002, to be published in ECHR 2002-, §§ 67-68). It is of crucial importance that the Convention is interpreted and applied in a manner which renders its rights practical and effective, not theoretical and illusory. A failure by the Court to maintain a dynamic and evolutive approach would indeed risk rendering it a bar to reform or improvement (see the above-cited Stafford v. the United Kingdom judgment, § 68). In the present context the Court has, on several occasions since 1986, signalled its consciousness of the serious problems facing transsexuals and stressed the importance of keeping the need for appropriate legal measures in this area under review (see the Rees judgment, § 47; the Cossey judgment, § 42; the Sheffield and Horsham judgment, § 60).

75. The Court proposes therefore to look at the situation within and outside the Contracting State to assess “in the light of present-day conditions” what is now the appropriate interpretation and application of the Convention (see the Tyrer v. the United Kingdom judgment of 25 April 1978, Series A no. 26, § 31, and subsequent case-law).

2. The applicant’s situation as a transsexual

76. The Court observes that the applicant, registered at birth as male, has undergone gender re-assignment surgery and lives in society as a female. Nonetheless, the applicant remains, for legal purposes, a male. This has had, and continues to have, effects on the applicant’s life where sex is of legal relevance and distinctions are made between men and women, as, inter alia, in the area of pensions and retirement age. For example, the applicant must continue to pay national insurance contributions until the age of 65 due to her legal status as male. However as she is employed in her gender identity as a female, she has had to obtain an exemption certificate which allows the payments from her employer to stop while she continues to make such payments herself. Though the Government submitted that this made due allowance for the difficulties of her position, the Court would note that she nonetheless has to make use of a special procedure that might in itself call attention to her status.

77. It must also be recognised that serious interference with private life can arise where the state of domestic law conflicts with an important aspect of personal identity (see, mutatis mutandis, Dudgeon v. the United Kingdom judgment of 22 October 1981, Series A no. 45, § 41). The stress and alienation arising from a discordance between the position in society assumed by a post-operative transsexual and the status imposed by law which refuses to recognise the change of gender cannot, in the Court’s view, be regarded as a minor inconvenience arising from a formality. A conflict between social reality and law arises which places the transsexual in an anomalous position, in which he or she may experience feelings of vulnerability, humiliation and anxiety.

78. In this case, as in many others, the applicant’s gender re-assignment was carried out by the national health service, which recognises the condition of gender dysphoria and provides, inter alia, re-assignment by surgery, with a view to achieving as one of its principal purposes as close an assimilation as possible to the gender in which the transsexual perceives that he or she properly belongs. The Court is struck by the fact that nonetheless the gender re-assignment which is lawfully provided is not met with full recognition in law, which might be regarded as the final and culminating step in the long and difficult process of transformation which the transsexual has undergone. The coherence of the administrative and legal practices within the domestic system must be regarded as an important factor in the assessment carried out under Article 8 of the Convention. Where a State has authorised the treatment and surgery alleviating the condition of a transsexual, financed or assisted in financing the operations and indeed permits the artificial insemination of a woman living with a female-to-male transsexual (as demonstrated in the case of X, Y og Z v. The United Kingdom, cited above), it appears illogical to refuse to recognise the legal implications of the result to which the treatment leads.

79. The Court notes that the unsatisfactory nature of the current position and plight of transsexuals in the United Kingdom has been acknowledged in the domestic courts (see Bellinger v. Bellinger, cited above, paragraph 52) and by the Interdepartmental Working Group which surveyed the situation in the United Kingdom and concluded that, notwithstanding the accommodations reached in practice, transsexual people were conscious of certain problems which did not have to be faced by the majority of the population (paragraph 50 above).

80. Against these considerations, the Court has examined the countervailing arguments of a public interest nature put forward as justifying the continuation of the present situation. It observes that in the previous United Kingdom cases weight was given to medical and scientific considerations, the state of any European and international consensus and the impact of any changes to the current birth register system.

3. Medical and scientific considerations

81. It remains the case that there are no conclusive findings as to the cause of transsexualism and, in particular, whether it is wholly psychological or associated with physical differentiation in the brain. The expert evidence in the domestic case of Bellinger v. Bellinger was found to indicate a growing acceptance of findings of sexual differences in the brain that are determined pre-natally, though scientific proof for the theory was far from complete. The Court considers it more significant however that transsexualism has wide international recognition as a medical condition for which treatment is provided in order to afford relief (for example, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual fourth edition (DSM-IV) replaced the diagnosis of transsexualism with “gender identity disorder”; see also the International Classification of Diseases, tenth edition (ICD-10)). The United Kingdom national health service, in common with the vast majority of Contracting States, acknowledges the existence of the condition and provides or permits treatment, including irreversible surgery. The medical and surgical acts which in this case rendered the gender re-assignment possible were indeed carried out under the supervision of the national health authorities. Nor, given the numerous and painful interventions involved in such surgery and the level of commitment and conviction required to achieve a change in social gender role, can it be suggested that there is anything arbitrary or capricious in the decision taken by a person to undergo gender re-assignment. In those circumstances, the ongoing scientific and medical debate as to the exact causes of the condition is of diminished relevance.

82. While it also remains the case that a transsexual cannot acquire all the biological characteristics of the assigned sex (Sheffield and Horsham, cited above, p. 2028, § 56), the Court notes that with increasingly sophisticated surgery and types of hormonal treatments, the principal unchanging biological aspect of gender identity is the chromosomal element. It is known however that chromosomal anomalies may arise naturally (for example, in cases of intersex conditions where the biological criteria at birth are not congruent) and in those cases, some persons have to be assigned to one sex or the other as seems most appropriate in the circumstances of the individual case. It is not apparent to the Court that the chromosomal element, amongst all the others, must inevitably take on decisive significance for the purposes of legal attribution of gender identity for transsexuals (see the dissenting opinion of Thorpe LJ in Bellinger v. Bellinger cited in paragraph 52 above; and the judgment of Chisholm J in the Australian case, Re Kevin, cited in paragraph 55 above).

83. The Court is not persuaded therefore that the state of medical science or scientific knowledge provides any determining argument as regards the legal recognition of transsexuals.

4. The state of any European and international consensus

84. Already at the time of the Sheffield and Horsham case, there was an emerging consensus within Contracting States in the Council of Europe on providing legal recognition following gender re-assignment (see § 35 of that judgment). The latest survey submitted by Liberty in the present case shows a continuing international trend towards legal recognition (see paragraphs 55-56 above). In Australia and New Zealand, it appears that the courts are moving away from the biological birth view of sex (as set out in the United Kingdom case of Corbett v. Corbett) and taking the view that sex, in the context of a transsexual wishing to marry, should depend on a multitude of factors to be assessed at the time of the marriage.

85. The Court observes that in the case of Rees in 1986 it had noted that little common ground existed between States, some of which did permit change of gender and some of which did not and that generally speaking the law seemed to be in a state of transition (see § 37). In the later case of Sheffield and Horsham, the Court’s judgment laid emphasis on the lack of a common European approach as to how to address the repercussions which the legal recognition of a change of sex may entail for other areas of law such as marriage, filiation, privacy or data protection. While this would appear to remain the case, the lack of such a common approach among forty-three Contracting States with widely diverse legal systems and traditions is hardly surprising. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, it is indeed primarily for the Contracting States to decide on the measures necessary to secure Convention rights within their jurisdiction and, in resolving within their domestic legal systems the practical problems created by the legal recognition of post-operative gender status, the Contracting States must enjoy a wide margin of appreciation. The Court accordingly attaches less importance to the lack of evidence of a common European approach to the resolution of the legal and practical problems posed, than to the clear and uncontested evidence of a continuing international trend in favour not only of increased social acceptance of transsexuals but of legal recognition of the new sexual identity of post-operative transsexuals.

5. Impact on the birth register system

86. In the Rees case, the Court allowed that great importance could be placed by the Government on the historical nature of the birth record system. The argument that allowing exceptions to this system would undermine its function weighed heavily in the assessment.

87. It may be noted however that exceptions are already made to the historic basis of the birth register system, namely, in the case of legitimisation or adoptions, where there is a possibility of issuing updated certificates to reflect a change in status after birth. To make a further exception in the case of transsexuals (a category estimated as including some 2,000-5,000 persons in the United Kingdom according to the Interdepartmental Working Group Report, p. 26) would not, in the Court’s view, pose the threat of overturning the entire system. Though previous reference has been made to detriment suffered by third parties who might be unable to obtain access to the original entries and to complications occurring in the field of family and succession law (see the Rees judgment, p. 18, § 43), these assertions are framed in general terms and the Court does not find, on the basis of the material before it at this time, that any real prospect of prejudice has been identified as likely to arise if changes were made to the current system.

88. Furthermore, the Court notes that the Government have recently issued proposals for reform which would allow ongoing amendment to civil status data (see paragraph 54). It is not convinced therefore that the need to uphold rigidly the integrity of the historic basis of the birth registration system takes on the same importance in the current climate as it did in 1986.

6. Striking a balance in the present case

89. The Court has noted above (paragraphs 76-79) the difficulties and anomalies of the applicant’s situation as a post-operative transsexual. It must be acknowledged that the level of daily interference suffered by the applicant in B. v. France (judgment of 25 March 1992, Series A no. 232) has not been attained in this case and that on certain points the risk of difficulties or embarrassment faced by the present applicant may be avoided or minimised by the practices adopted by the authorities.

90. Nonetheless, the very essence of the Convention is respect for human dignity and human freedom. Under Article 8 of the Convention in particular, where the notion of personal autonomy is an important principle underlying the interpretation of its guarantees, protection is given to the personal sphere of each individual, including the right to establish details of their identity as individual human beings (see, inter alia, Pretty v. the United Kingdom, no. 2346/02, judgment of 29 April 2002, § 62, and Mikulic v. Croatia, no. 53176/99, judgment of 7 February 2002, § 53, both to be published in ECHR 2002-…). In the twenty first century the right of transsexuals to personal development and to physical and moral security in the full sense enjoyed by others in society cannot be regarded as a matter of controversy requiring the lapse of time to cast clearer light on the issues involved. In short, the unsatisfactory situation in which post-operative transsexuals live in an intermediate zone as not quite one gender or the other is no longer sustainable. Domestic recognition of this evaluation may be found in the report of the Interdepartmental Working Group and the Court of Appeal’s judgment of Bellinger v. Bellinger (see paragraphs 50, 52-53).

91. The Court does not underestimate the difficulties posed or the important repercussions which any major change in the system will inevitably have, not only in the field of birth registration, but also in the areas of access to records, family law, affiliation, inheritance, criminal justice, employment, social security and insurance. However, as is made clear by the report of the Interdepartmental Working Group, these problems are far from insuperable, to the extent that the Working Group felt able to propose as one of the options full legal recognition of the new gender, subject to certain criteria and procedures. As Lord Justice Thorpe observed in the Bellinger case, any “spectral difficulties”, particularly in the field of family law, are both manageable and acceptable if confined to the case of fully achieved and post-operative transsexuals. Nor is the Court convinced by arguments that allowing the applicant to fall under the rules applicable to women, which would also change the date of eligibility for her state pension, would cause any injustice to others in the national insurance and state pension systems as alleged by the Government. No concrete or substantial hardship or detriment to the public interest has indeed been demonstrated as likely to flow from any change to the status of transsexuals and, as regards other possible consequences, the Court considers that society may reasonably be expected to tolerate a certain inconvenience to enable individuals to live in dignity and worth in accordance with the sexual identity chosen by them at great personal cost.

92. In the previous cases from the United Kingdom, this Court has since 1986 emphasised the importance of keeping the need for appropriate legal measures under review having regard to scientific and societal developments (see references at paragraph 73). Most recently in the Sheffield and Horsham case in 1998, it observed that the respondent State had not yet taken any steps to do so despite an increase in the social acceptance of the phenomenon of transsexualism and a growing recognition of the problems with which transsexuals are confronted (cited above, paragraph 60). Even though it found no violation in that case, the need to keep this area under review was expressly re-iterated. Since then, a report has been issued in April 2000 by the Interdepartmental Working Group which set out a survey of the current position of transsexuals in inter alia criminal law, family and employment matters and identified various options for reform. Nothing has effectively been done to further these proposals and in July 2001 the Court of Appeal noted that there were no plans to do so (see paragraphs 52-53). It may be observed that the only legislative reform of note, applying certain non-discrimination provisions to transsexuals, flowed from a decision of the European Court of Justice of 30 April 1996 which held that discrimination based on a change of gender was equivalent to discrimination on grounds of sex (see paragraphs 43-45 above).

93. Having regard to the above considerations, the Court finds that the respondent Government can no longer claim that the matter falls within their margin of appreciation, save as regards the appropriate means of achieving recognition of the right protected under the Convention. Since there are no significant factors of public interest to weigh against the interest of this individual applicant in obtaining legal recognition of her gender re-assignment, it reaches the conclusion that the fair balance that is inherent in the Convention now tilts decisively in favour of the applicant. There has, accordingly, been a failure to respect her right to private life in breach of Article 8 of the Convention.

II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 12 OF THE CONVENTION

94. The applicant also claimed a violation of Article 12 of the Convention, which provides as follows:

“Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.”

A. Arguments of the parties

1. The applicant

95. The applicant complained that although she currently enjoyed a full physical relationship with a man, she and her partner could not marry because the law treated her as a man. She argued that the Corbett v. Corbett definition of a person’s sex for the purpose of marriage had been shown no longer to be sufficient in the recent case of Bellinger v. Bellinger and that even if a reliance on biological criteria remained acceptable, it was a breach of Article 12 to use only some of those criteria for determining a person’s sex and excluding those who failed to fulfil those elements.

2. The Government

96. The Government referred to the Court’s previous case-law (the above-cited Rees, Cossey and Sheffield and Horsham judgments) and maintained that neither Article 12 nor Article 8 of the Convention required a State to permit a transsexual to marry a person of his or her original sex. They also pointed out that the domestic law approach had been recently reviewed and upheld by the Court of Appeal in Bellinger v. Bellinger, the matter now pending before the House of Lords. In their view, if any change in this important or sensitive area were to be made, it should come from the United Kingdom’s own courts acting within the margin of appreciation which this Court has always afforded. They also referred to the fact that any change brought the possibility of unwanted consequences, submitting that legal recognition would potentially invalidate existing marriages and leave transsexuals and their partners in same-sex marriages. They emphasised the importance of proper and careful review of any changes in this area and the need for transitional provisions.

B. The Court’s assessment

97. The Court recalls that in the cases of Rees, Cossey and Sheffield and Horsham the inability of the transsexuals in those cases to marry a person of the sex opposite to their re-assigned gender was not found in breach of Article 12 of the Convention. These findings were based variously on the reasoning that the right to marry referred to traditional marriage between persons of opposite biological sex (the Rees judgment, p. 19, § 49), the view that continued adoption of biological criteria in domestic law for determining a person’s sex for the purpose of marriage was encompassed within the power of Contracting States to regulate by national law the exercise of the right to marry and the conclusion that national laws in that respect could not be regarded as restricting or reducing the right of a transsexual to marry in such a way or to such an extent that the very essence of the right was impaired (the Cossey judgment, p. 18, §§ 44-46, the Sheffield and Horsham judgment, p. 2030, §§ 66-67). Reference was also made to the wording of Article 12 as protecting marriage as the basis of the family (Rees, loc. cit.).

98. Reviewing the situation in 2002, the Court observes that Article 12 secures the fundamental right of a man and woman to marry and to found a family. The second aspect is not however a condition of the first and the inability of any couple to conceive or parent a child cannot be regarded as per se removing their right to enjoy the first limb of this provision.

99. The exercise of the right to marry gives rise to social, personal and legal consequences. It is subject to the national laws of the Contracting States but the limitations thereby introduced must not restrict or reduce the right in such a way or to such an extent that the very essence of the right is impaired (see the Rees judgment, p. 19, § 50; the F. v. Switzerland judgment of 18 December 1987, Series A no. 128, § 32).

100. It is true that the first sentence refers in express terms to the right of a man and woman to marry. The Court is not persuaded that at the date of this case it can still be assumed that these terms must refer to a determination of gender by purely biological criteria (as held by Ormrod J. in the case of Corbett v. Corbett, paragraph 21 above). There have been major social changes in the institution of marriage since the adoption of the Convention as well as dramatic changes brought about by developments in medicine and science in the field of transsexuality. The Court has found above, under Article 8 of the Convention, that a test of congruent biological factors can no longer be decisive in denying legal recognition to the change of gender of a post-operative transsexual. There are other important factors – the acceptance of the condition of gender identity disorder by the medical professions and health authorities within Contracting States, the provision of treatment including surgery to assimilate the individual as closely as possible to the gender in which they perceive that they properly belong and the assumption by the transsexual of the social role of the assigned gender. The Court would also note that Article 9 of the recently adopted Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union departs, no doubt deliberately, from the wording of Article 12 of the Convention in removing the reference to men and women (see paragraph 58 above).

101. The right under Article 8 to respect for private life does not however subsume all the issues under Article 12, where conditions imposed by national laws are accorded a specific mention. The Court has therefore considered whether the allocation of sex in national law to that registered at birth is a limitation impairing the very essence of the right to marry in this case. In that regard, it finds that it is artificial to assert that post-operative transsexuals have not been deprived of the right to marry as, according to law, they remain able to marry a person of their former opposite sex. The applicant in this case lives as a woman, is in a relationship with a man and would only wish to marry a man. She has no possibility of doing so. In the Court’s view, she may therefore claim that the very essence of her right to marry has been infringed.

102. The Court has not identified any other reason which would prevent it from reaching this conclusion. The Government have argued that in this sensitive area eligibility for marriage under national law should be left to the domestic courts within the State’s margin of appreciation, adverting to the potential impact on already existing marriages in which a transsexual is a partner. It appears however from the opinions of the majority of the Court of Appeal judgment in Bellinger v. Bellinger that the domestic courts tend to the view that the matter is best handled by the legislature, while the Government have no present intention to introduce legislation (see paragraphs 52-53).

103. It may be noted from the materials submitted by Liberty that though there is widespread acceptance of the marriage of transsexuals, fewer countries permit the marriage of transsexuals in their assigned gender than recognise the change of gender itself. The Court is not persuaded however that this supports an argument for leaving the matter entirely to the Contracting States as being within their margin of appreciation. This would be tantamount to finding that the range of options open to a Contracting State included an effective bar on any exercise of the right to marry. The margin of appreciation cannot extend so far. While it is for the Contracting State to determine inter alia the conditions under which a person claiming legal recognition as a transsexual establishes that gender re-assignment has been properly effected or under which past marriages cease to be valid and the formalities applicable to future marriages (including, for example, the information to be furnished to intended spouses), the Court finds no justification for barring the transsexual from enjoying the right to marry under any circumstances.

104. The Court concludes that there has been a breach of Article 12 of the Convention in the present case.

III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 14 OF THE CONVENTION

105. The applicant also claimed a violation of Article 14 of the Convention, which provides as follows:

“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”

106. The applicant complained that the lack of legal recognition of her changed gender was the cause of numerous discriminatory experiences and prejudices. She referred in particular to the fact that she could not claim her State pension until she was 65 and to the fact that she could not claim a “freedom pass” to give her free travel in London, a privilege which women were allowed to enjoy from the age 60 and men from the age of 65.

107. The Government submitted that no issues arose which were different from those addressed under Article 8 of the Convention and that the complaints failed to disclose any discrimination contrary to the above provision.

108. The Court considers that the lack of legal recognition of the change of gender of a post-operative transsexual lies at the heart of the applicant’s complaints under Article 14 of the Convention. These issues have been examined under Article 8 and resulted in the finding of a violation of that provision. In the circumstances, the Court considers that no separate issue arises under Article 14 of the Convention and makes no separate finding.

IV. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION

109. The applicant claimed a violation of Article 13 of the Convention, which provides as follows:

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”

110. The applicant complained that she had no effective remedy available to her in respect of the matters complained of above.

111. The Government submitted that no arguable breach of any Convention right arose to engage the right to a remedy under Article 13. In any event, since 2 October 2000 when the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force, the Convention rights could be relied on in national courts and the applicant would now have a remedy in a national court for any breach of a Convention right.

112. The Court reiterates that Article 13 of the Convention guarantees the availability at the national level of a remedy to enforce the substance of the Convention rights and freedoms in whatever form they might happen to be secured in the domestic legal order. Its effect is to require the provision of a domestic remedy to deal with the substance of an “arguable complaint” under the Convention and to grant appropriate relief (see, amongst other authorities, the Aksoy v. Turkey judgment of 25 September 1996, Reports 1996-VI, p. 2286, § 95).

113. Having found above that there have been violations of Articles 8 and 12 of the Convention, the applicant’s complaints in this regard are without doubt arguable for the purposes of Article 13 of the Convention. The case-law of the Convention institutions indicates, however, that Article 13 cannot be interpreted as requiring a remedy against the state of domestic law, as otherwise the Court would be imposing on Contracting States a requirement to incorporate the Convention (see the James and Others v. the United Kingdom judgment of 21 February 1986, Series A no. 98, p. 48, § 86). Insofar therefore as no remedy existed in domestic law prior to 2 October 2000 when the Human Rights Act 1998 took effect, the applicant’s complaints fall foul of this principle. Following that date, it would have been possible for the applicant to raise her complaints before the domestic courts, which would have had a range of possible redress available to them.

114. The Court finds in the circumstances no breach of Article 13 of the Convention in the present case.

V. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

115. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

A. Damage

116. The applicant claimed pecuniary damage of a total of 38,200 pounds sterling (GBP). This represented a sum of GBP 31,200 in respect of the pension which she had been unable to claim at age 60 and GBP 7,000 as the estimated value of the pensioner’s bus pass which she had not been eligible to obtain. The applicant also claimed for non-pecuniary damage the sum of GBP 40,000 in respect of distress, anxiety and humiliation.

117. The Government submitted that were the Court to find any breach of the Convention this finding would of itself be sufficient just satisfaction for the purposes of Article 41 of the Convention.

118. The Court recalls that there must be a clear causal connection between the pecuniary damage claimed by the applicant and the violation of the Convention and that this may, in the appropriate case, include compensation in respect of loss of earnings or other sources of income (see, amongst other authorities, the Barberá, Messegué and Jabardo v. Spain judgment of 13 June 1994 (Article 50), Series A no. 285-C, pp. 57-58, §§ 16-20; the Cakici v. Turkey judgment of 8 July 1999, Reports 1999-IV, § 127).

119. The Court observes that the applicant was unable to retire at age 60 as other female employees were entitled and to obtain a state pension or to claim a bus pass for free travel. The degree of financial detriment suffered as a result, if any, is not clear-cut however as the applicant, though perhaps not by choice, continued to work and to enjoy a salary as a result. While it has adverted above to the difficulties and stresses of the applicant’s position as a post-operative transsexual, it would note that over the period until 1998 similar issues were found to fall within the United Kingdom’s margin of appreciation and that no breach arose.

120. The Court has found that the situation, as it has evolved, no longer falls within the United Kingdom’s margin of appreciation. It will be for the United Kingdom Government in due course to implement such measures as it considers appropriate to fulfil its obligations to secure the applicant’s, and other transsexuals’, right to respect for private life and right to marry in compliance with this judgment. While there is no doubt that the applicant has suffered distress and anxiety in the past, it is the lack of legal recognition of the gender re-assignment of post-operative transsexuals which lies at the heart of the complaints in this application, the latest in a succession of cases by other applicants raising the same issues. The Court does not find it appropriate therefore to make an award to this particular applicant. The finding of violation, with the consequences which will ensue for the future, may in these circumstances be regarded as constituting just satisfaction.

B. Costs and expenses

121. The applicant claims for legal costs and expenses GBP 17,000 for solicitors’ fees and GBP 24,550 for the fees of senior and junior counsel. Costs of travel to the Court hearing, together with accommodation and other related expenses were claimed in the sum of GBP 2,822. This made a total of GBP 44,372.

122. The Government submitted that the sum appeared excessive in comparison to other cases from the United Kingdom and in particular as regarded the amount of GBP 39,000 claimed in respect of the relatively recent period during which the applicant’s current solicitors have been instructed which would only relate to the consolidated observations and the hearing before the Court.

123. The Court finds that the sums claimed by the applicant for legal costs and expenses, for which no detail has been provided by way of hours of work and fee rates, are high having regard to the level of complexity of, and procedures adopted in, this case. Having regard to the sums granted in other United Kingdom cases and taking into account the sums of legal aid paid by the Council of Europe, the Court awards for this head 39,000 euros (EUR), together with any value-added tax that may be payable. The award is made in euros, to be converted into pounds sterling at the date of settlement, as the Court finds it appropriate that henceforth all just satisfaction awards made under Article 41 of the Convention should in principle be based on the euro as the reference currency.

C. Default interest

124. As the award is expressed in euros to be converted into the national currency at the date of settlement, the Court considers that the default interest rate should also reflect the choice of the euro as the reference currency. It considers it appropriate to take as the general rule that the rate of the default interest to be paid on outstanding amounts expressed in euro should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank to which should be added three percentage points.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT

1. Holds unanimously that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention;

2. Holds unanimously that there has been a violation of Article 12 of the Convention;

3. Holds unanimously that no separate issue arises under Article 14 the Convention;

4. Holds unanimously that there has been no violation of Article 13 of the Convention;

5. Holds unanimously that the finding of violation constitutes in itself sufficient just satisfaction for the non-pecuniary damage sustained by the applicant;

6. Holds unanimously that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, EUR 39,000 (thirty nine thousand euros) in respect of costs and expenses, together with any value-added tax that may be chargeable, to be converted into pounds sterling at the date of settlement;

7. Holds by fifteen votes to two that simple interest at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank plus three percentage points shall be payable from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement;

8. Dismisses unanimously the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.

Done in English and in French, and delivered at a public hearing in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 11 July 2002.

Luzius Wildhaber
President
Paul Mahoney
Registrar

In accordance with Article 45 § 2 of the Convention and Rule 74 § 2 of the Rules of Court, the following separate opinions are annexed to this judgment:

(a) concurring opinion of Mr Fischbach;
(b) partly dissenting opinion of Mr TÜrmen;
(c) partly dissenting opinion of Mrs Greve.

L.W.
P.J.M

CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGE FISCHBACH


Even though I voted with the majority of the Court as concerns point 7 of the operative part of the judgment, I would have preferred a fixed rate of default interest to have been set.

PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE TÜRMEN


As concerns default interest, I would have preferred, at point 7 of the operative part of the judgment, for a fixed rate to have been set.
PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE GREVE


In the present case I do not share the views of the majority of my colleagues concerning the default interest to be paid.

There is agreement among the judges that the euro is a suitable reference currency for all awards under Article 41. The Court wants such awards paid promptly, and the default interest rate is intended to be an incentive for prompt payment without it having a punitive character. So far I fully agree.

Under the Court’s new policy awards are made in the euro to be converted into national currencies at the day of settlement. This means that in the present case the applicant will suffer a loss in the value of her award if her national currency, the pound sterling, continues to gain strength vis-á-vis the euro. Conversion into national currency first at the day of settlement in contradistinction to a conversion at the day of the judgement will favour applicants from the euro countries and applicants that have national currencies on a par with the euro, or weaker. All other applicants will suffer a loss under the changed policy. This, in my opinion, conflicts with the provisions of Article 14 in combination with Article 41. Moreover, it conflicts with the Court’s desire that the awards shall to be as fair as possible, that is to maintain the value of the award as accurately as possible.

The latter objective is also the rationale for changing the Court’s previous practice of using the default interest rate in each member State as basis for the Court’s decision in individual cases.

The majority is attempting to secure that awards become fair by using varying interest rates as they evolve throughout the period of default. The marginal lending rate used by the European Central Bank (ECB) when lending money overnight to commercial banks plus three percentage points will be used. This will in the present case, as in many other cases, give the applicant a lower default interest rate than the rate previously used by the Court, the national default interest rate.

The marginal lending rate is interest paid by banks to the ECB, when they need quick emergency loans. That is, it is a rate which forms the ceiling for the commercial money market; and of little, if any, practical interest to most of the applicants in the Court. The default interest rates provided for in each of the States parties to the Convention for their part do reflect the situation in the national money markets regarding the rates to be paid by applicants who may have to opt for borrowing money while awaiting payment of an award of just satisfaction. For this reason national default interest rates compensate the individuals in a manner not secured by the new default interest rate opted for by the Court’s majority.

Furthermore, I believe that an applicant receiving an award ought to be able to know herself the applicable default interest rate. The marginal lending rate used by the ECB when lending money overnight to commercial banks is not easily available to all applicants in Europe. The rate has been stable for quite some time but if need be it could be set on a weekly if not even daily basis. Although it will be for the State to prove that it has actually paid the applicant in compliance with the judgment, and for the Committee of Ministers in the Council of Europe to check that this is correct, I find this to be an added bureaucratic procedure which makes it more difficult for applicants to keep track themselves. At all events the basis on which the Court’s majority sets the new default interest rate is removed from the actual rate which an applicant, who needs to borrow money on an interim basis while awaiting payment of the award in a judgement, will have to pay. This is not compensated by the new varying interest rate, and this rather abstract search for fairness does not, in my opinion, merit a potentially bureaucratic new procedure.

CHRISTINE GOODWIN v. THE UNITED KINGDOM JUDGMENT

CHRISTINE GOODWIN v. THE UNITED KINGDOM JUDGMENT

CHRISTINE GOODWIN v. THE UNITED KINGDOM JUDGMENT

PARTLY DISSENTING OPINION OF JUDGE GREVE

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.
Pressemeddelelse af 11. juli 2002 fra Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Sheffield og Horsham mod the United Kingdom – Application No 22985/93 og 23390/94. Ret til ændring af fødselsattest. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 30. juli 1998.

Vist 21 gange. I sagen Sheffield og Horsham v. the United Kingdom – Application No 22985/93 og 23390/94 – som består af to sager, som blev ført samtidig, frikendte Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 30. juli 1998 England.

Sagen blev ført ved Storkammeret – Grand Chamber – i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol. I forbindelse med domme udtrykte Domstolen kritik af, at England ikke trods tidligere domme fra Domstolen, havde ændret på sin lovgivning.

Sammendrag
Dom afsagt af Storkammeret – Grand Chamber – afsagde den 30. juli 1998 dom i sagen Sheffield og Horsham v. the United Kingdom. 31-32/1997/815-816/1018-1019

Storbritannien – den sagsøgte stat har en positiv forpligtelse til at anerkende sagsøgernes nye kønsidentiteter ved lovlige formål, både mandlige og kvindelige kønsskifteopererede transseksuelle.

I. Artikel 8 i konventionen
Gentagelse af Domstolens retspraksis om rækkevidden af positive forpligtelser i henhold til artikel 8 om at beskytte retten til respekt for privatlivet.

Essensen of sagsøgernes klagepunkter vedrører myndigheders fortsatte insisteren på at bestemme køn efter biologiske kriterier og afvisning af at anmærke eller opdatere oplysninger om kønsskifteopereredes kønsstatus i fødselsregistre – i den henseende ligner disse klager sagerne Rees v. The United Kingdom og Cossey v. the United Kingdom.

Efter Rettens opfattelse er der ikke nogen videnskabelig eller retlig udvikling på området transseksualitet siden Cossey-dommen, som berettiger til at fravige Rettens beslutninger i ovennævnte sager – den sagsøgte stat påberåber sig stadig retten til et skøn og forsvarer sin afvisning af at anerkende retligt kønsskifteopererede transseksuelles kønsidentitet – og Retten finder, at transseksualitet fortsat rejser komplekse, videnskabelige, juridiske, moralske og sociale spørgsmål, for hvilke der ikke er nogen almindeligt fælles tilgang blandt de kontraherende stater.

Endvidere er de ulemper, som klagerne i visse sammenhænge påføres på grund af deres køn efter kønsskifteoperation, ikke tilstrækkelig alvor til at tilsidesætte den sagsøgte stats skønsbeføjelser.

Retten bemærker, at den sagsøgte stat ikke har taget skridt til passende retlige foranstaltninger på dette område på trods Domstolens synspunkt derom i Rees og Cossey dommene, hvorfor Retten gentager sit synspunkt.

Konklusion: ingen krænkelse (elleve stemmer mod ni).

II. Artikel 12 i konventionen
Gentagelse af principperne i Domstolens Rees dom om rækkevidden og fortolkningen af artikel 12.

Under henvisning til disse principper, begge klagernes manglende mulighed for enten at indgå i et lovformeligt ægteskab i henhold til national lovgivning på grund af myndighedernes i den sagsøgte stat insisteren på biologiske kriterier for fastlæggelse køn med henblik på, kan ikke give anledning til strid med denne artikel. Desuden er Domstolen ikke blevet overbevist om, at anden sagsøgers klage rejser spørgsmål i henhold til denne artikel.

Konklusion: ingen krænkelse (atten stemmer mod to).

III. Artikel 14 i konventionen sammenholdt med artikel 8
Gentagelse af principperne i artikel 14.

Domstolens begrundelse for at afvise sagsøgernes klager i henhold til artikel 8 udgør også en “rimelig og objektiv begrundelse” for de påståede forskelsbehandlinger, som klagerne som kønsskifteopererede transseksuelle har været udsat for.

Konklusion: ingen overtrædelse (enstemmigt).

IV. Artikel 13 i konventionen
Klagerne tilkendegiver, at de frafalder klagerne.

Konklusion: ikke nødvendigt at undersøge klagerne (enstemmigt).

Den første klager, Kristina Sheffield er en britisk statsborger født i 1946 og aktuelt bosiddende i London.
Ved fødslen blev klageren registreret med mandligt køn. Hun har været gift og har en datter fra dette ægteskab, som nu er opløst.
I 1986 begyndte hun behandling på en kønsidentitetsklinik i London og har gennemgået kønsskifteoperation. Efter denne skiftede hun navn til sit nuværende. Navneskiftet blev indført i et nyt kørekort og et nyt pas.
Da hun var blevet oplyst, at en skilsmisse var nødvendig for at få tilladelse til kønsskifte, blev hun skilt fra sin hustru. Efterfølgende nægtede en dommer at give hende samkvem med sin datter, da denne fandt, at kontakt til en transseksuel ikke var til gave for barnet. Hun har ikke set sit barn i tolv år.
På trods af, at hendes navn blev ændret på kørekortet og i passet, var det ikke muligt at få ændret fødselsattesten og forskellige andre dokumenter så som forsikringspolicer, som derfor indeholder hende oprindelige mandlige navn og mandlig kønsangivelse.

Den anden klager, Rachel Horsham, er en britisk statsborger født i 1946. Hun har boet i Holland siden 1974 og ansøgte i september 1993 om hollandsk statsborgerskab.
Ved fødslen blev klageren registreret med mandligt køn. Hun har fra en meget tidlig alder haft svært ved at identificere sig som værende af hankøn. Siden hun i 1971 som 21 år fuldt ud forstod, at hun var transseksuel, har hun levet som kvinde.
Hun har siden 1990 været i behandling med kønshormoner og gennemgik kønsskifteoperation til kvinde den21. maj 1992 på Free University Hospital i Amsterdam, Holland.
Den 26. juni 1992 ansøgte hun på ny det Britiske konsulat i Amsterdam om at få ændret billede og navn i sit pas. Hun fik oplyst, at det kun kunne efterkommes, hvis hun havde en Hollandsk domstols afgørelse derom.
Den 24. august 1992 fik hun afsagt dom ved Amsterdams byret om, at navnemyndigheden i Haag skulle ændre hendes registrering til hendes nye navn og til, at hun nu var kvinde. Hun fik den 12. november 1992 udstedt nyt registreringsbevis.
Den 11. september 1992 fik hun fra det Britiske konsulat udstedt nyt pas med sit kvindelige navn og kønsangivelsen anført som kvinde.
Den 15. november 1992 ansøgte hun om udstedelse af en ny britisk fødselsattest med sit nye navn og køn, men fik den 20. november 1992 oplyst, at det ikke kunne lade sig gøre.
Hun gør over for retten gældende, at hun er tvunget til at leve i eksil, da Storbritannien ikke vil anerkende hendes køn. Hun har en mandlig partner, som hun har tænkt sig at gifte sig med, og de vil gerne bosætte sig i England.
Hun havde et brev af 4. november 1993 fra de engelske myndigheder, som oplyste, at flyttede hun til England, så ville hendes ægteskab blive betegnet som ulovligt, hvorfor hun fortsat var tvunget til at bo i Holland.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

X, Y og Z mod The United Kingdom – Application no. 21830/93. Ret til familieliv. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 22. april 1997.

Vist 18 gange. I sagen X, Y og Z v. The United Kingdom – Application no. 21830/93 – konkluderede Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol, at der ikke havde været nogen overtrædelse af artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv), men anerkendte alligevel, at der var et familieliv mellem den transseksuelle og hans partners barn. (§ 37: “X har i enhver henseende fungeret som Z’s “far” siden fødslen. Under disse omstændigheder finder Retten, at dette [de facto] familiebånd forbinder de tre sagsøgere.”)

Sagsøgerne var Britiske statsborgere bosiddende i Manchester, England.
X var kvinde til mand transseksuel, blev født i 1955 og arbejdede som gymnasielærer.
Y var en kvinde født i 1959.
Siden 1979 har X og Y levet i et fast og stabilt parforhold.
Z blev født den 3. oktober 1992 af Y, der var blevet gravid ved kunstig befrugtning med sæd fra en anonym sæddonor.

X blev født som pige, men følte sig fra fireårs-alderen som en dreng. I 1975 begyndte X med behandling med mandlige kønshormoner.
Under Y’s graviditet – i februar 1992 – ansøgte X og Y om at blive registreret som forældre – far og mor – til det kommende barn, men fik afslag. Tilsvarende ansøgninger efter fødslen gav samme resultat. X kunne ikke blive registreret som far til barnet, da han ikke var den biologiske far. Rubrikken i Z’s fødselsattest var derfor blank.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Roetzheim mod Tyskland – Application No. 31177/96. Ret til ændring af kønsstatus uden kønsskifteoperation. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 25. april 1996.

Vist 24 gange. Sagen Roetzheim mod Tyskland i korthed
Sagen journaliseret hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 25. april 1996 under Application No. 31177/96.

Den 5. december 1995 anlagde den tyske statsborger Theodor (Dora) Roetzheim sag ved Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol mod staten Tyskland om, at staten krænkede hendes menneskerettigheder og grundlæggende frihedsrettigheder jf. Menneskerettighedskonventionens artikel 8 ved ikke at efterkomme hendes ønske om at få ændret sin civilretslige kønsstatus fra mand til kvinde og sit fornavn til det kvindelige Dora.
Roetzheim havde været gennem samtlige tyske retsinstanser, der alle afsagde dom om, at staten ikke var forpligtet til at efterkomme ønsket om fornavneændring. Nogle appeldomstole afviste at give tilladelse til behandling af sagerne, da de ikke opfyldte betingelserne.

Menneskerettighedskonventionens artikel 8:
“Stk. 1. Enhver har ret til respekt for sit privatliv og familieliv, sit hjem og sin korrespondance.
Stk. 2. Ingen offentlig myndighed kan gøre indgreb i udøvelsen af denne ret, undtagen for så vidt det sker i overensstemmelse med loven og er nødvendigt i et demokratisk samfund af hensyn til den nationale sikkerhed, den offentlige tryghed eller landets økonomiske velfærd, for at forebygge uro eller forbrydelse, for at beskytte sundheden eller sædeligheden eller for at beskytte andres ret og frihed.”

Den 56-årige tyske statsborger Theodor Roetzheim – Dora – erklærede at være mand til kvinde transseksuel, som ikke ønskede at gennemgå en kønsskifteoperation. Roetzheim var gift og havde et barn.
Roetzheim søgte de tyske myndigheder om anerkendelse af at være transseksuel og om at få ændret sin kønsstatus fra mand til kvinde og få tilladelse til at skifte sit fornavn til Dora.
Det ville de tyske myndigheder ikke, og Roetzheim tabte sin sag ved samtlige tyske retsinstanser.
Medens sagerne verserede ved de tyske domstole, blev Roetzheim i 1994 skilt og ved en domstol dømt til at betale børnebidrag.
Efter afgørelsen om børnebidraget skiftede Roetzheim arbejde for at kunne få beskæftigelse som kvinde – et arbejde, der var lavere betalt, hvorfor Roetzheim søgte om nedsættelse af børnebidraget.
En domstol afviste dette med begrundelsen, at Roetzheim ikke havde behøvet til at skifte til et lavere betalt arbejde, men kunne arbejde som mand til en højere betaling.
Rotzheim blev gift igen og fik endnu et barn.

Roetzheim anlagde sag mod staten Tyskland ved Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol og påstod sine menneskerettigheder og grundlæggende frihedsrettigheder krænket af staten, og at det var forfatningsstridigt, at staten krævede, at evnen til formering ikke måtte være til stede, og at der skulle være foretaget en kønsskifteoperation, for at efterkomme ønsket om ændring af kønsstatus og fornavn.

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol fandt enstemmigt, at de tyske afgørelser ikke var brud på Roetzheims rettigheder i henhold til Artikel 8 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

B.v. mod Frankrig – Application no. 13343/87. Ret til ændring af kønsbetegnelse efter kønsskifteoperation. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 23. marts 1992.

Vist 45 gange. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol afgjorde den 23. marts 1992, at den franske stat skulle ændre kønsbetegnelse og kønsbestemte fornavne på personer, der har gennemgået en kønsskifteoperation.

Dette fremgår af sagen B. v. mod Frankrig – (Application nr. 133443/87).

Sagen drejer sig om Miss B., der er født i 1935 i Sidi Bel Abbés, Algier som den ældste af fem børn og blev registreret som værende af hankøn og fik fornavnene Norbert Antoine. Hun opførte sig fra helt lille som en pige og og blev også betragtet af sine brødre som en pige. Hun aftjente værnepligt som mand og blev betragtet som homoseksuel.
Hun virkede som lærer i fem år, hvorefter hun i 1963 flyttede til Paris og arbejdede på en cabaret under et fiktivt navn.
På grund af sin kvindelig karakter havde hun nervøse depressioner indtil hun i 1967 blev indlagt på et hospital. Lægen, som hun havde været i behandling hos siden 1963 ordinerede hende feminiserende hormonbehandling, hvilket gav hende bryster og en mere kvindelig fremtræden. Hun begyndte også at klæde sig i kvindetøj.
I 1972 gennemgik hun en kønsskifteoperation i Marocco, hvorunder hende mandlige kønsorganer blev fjernet, og der blev lavet en skede.
Hun arbejdede ikke længere i cabareer.
Miss B. levede sammen med en mand, som hun mødte kort før sin operation, og som hun straks informerede om sin situation.

Miss B. ønskede at gifte sig med sin mandlige samlever og bad retten om at træffe bestemmelse om, at hun skulle have tilladelse til at få ændret sin kønsbetegnelse til kvinde og sit fornavn til det kvindelige Lyne Antoinette.
Den 22. november 1979 afslog retten at følge hendes anmodning.
I 1985 blev afslaget stadfæstet af en højere retsinstans.
I 1987 fik hun endnu et retsligt afslag på at få ændret sin kønsstatus og sine fornavne.

Den 28. september 1987 anlagde Miss. B. sag mod den franske stat ved Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol i Strasbourg for bl.a. overtrædelse af artikel 8 om respekt for privatlivet ved ikke at ville ændre hendes kønsstatus og fornavne, så hun kunne blive gift.

Den 25. marts 1992 afsagde Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol dom i sagen.

Retten bestemte, at den franske stat havde krænket artikel 8 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention – respekt for privatlivet, og at hun yderlig skulle have en erstatning på 100.000 franske francs og 35.000 franske francs til dækning af sagsomkostninger.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Cossey mod the United Kingdom – Application no. 10843/84. Om ret til ændring af fødselsattest. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 27. september 1990.

Vist 23 gange. Den 27. september 1990 afgjorde Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol med stemmerne ti mod otte, at der ikke var sket brud på artikel 8 og med stemmerne fjorten mod fire, at der ikke var sket brud på artikel 12.

Frøken Caroline Cossey, der er brittisk statsborger, blev født i 1954 og ved fødslen registreret som en mand og fik fornavnene Barry Kenneth.
Da hun var 13 år erkendte hun, at hun ikke var som de andre drenge, selv om hun havde mandlige kønsorganer. Hun følte sig psykologisk som en kvinde.
I juli 1972 ændrede hun sit fornavn til det kvindelige Caroline, og har siden alene været kendt under dette navn. Samtidig begyndte hun at klæde sig i kvindetøj og har siden levet som kvinde. Hun begyndte også at tage kvindelige kønshormoner og har fået foretaget en brystforstørrende operation ved indsættelse af brystimplantater.
I december 1974 gennemgik hun en kønsskiftgeoperation på et hospital i London.
En medicinsk erklæring fra 8. februar 1984 beskriver hende som en behagelig ung kvinde, godtgjorde, at hun levede fuldtids som kvinde og var i stand til at have samleje med en mand.
Hun fik i 1976 et brittisk pas som kvinde og har siden 1986 været en succesfuld model og hyppigt figureret i aviser og magasiner og i annoncer.

I 1983 ønskede hun og Mr. L, en italiener, som hun havde kendt i fjorten måneder, at gifte sig med hinanden.
De brittiske myndigheder meddelte hende imidlertid i en skrivelse af 22. august 1983, at et sådant ægteskab ville være ugyldigt efter engelsk lov, idet hun uagtet hendes anatomiske og psykiske forhold var at betragte som en mand. Et parlamentsmedlem oplyste hende, at en lovændring var nødvendig for, at hun kunne gifte sig.
Myndighederne skrev den 18. januar 1984 til hende, at hun ikke kunne få udstedt en fødselsattest, der betegnede hende som kvinde, idet indholdet i fødselsattester skulle svare til de forhold, som var gældende ved fødslen.
I 1985 sluttede hendes forhold til Mr. L., men de fortsatte med at være gode venner.

Den 21. maj 1989 giftede hun sig med Mr. X ved en ceromoni i en synagoge i London. Ægteskabet varede dog kun til den 11. juni samme år og blev endeligt opløst ved dom den 13. marts 1990, idet det fandtes ugyldigt, da parterne ikke var “henholdsvis mand og kvinde”.

Miss Cossey anførte i sit andragende over for Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskommission den 24. februar 1984, at hun efter den engelske lovgivning ikke kunne opnå fuld anerkendelse af sin kønsstatus efter sin kønsskiftgeoperation og derfor ikke kunne gifte sig med en mand. Hun fandt, at det var en overtrædelse artikel 8 (beskyttelse af privatlivet) og artikel 12 (retten til at gifte sig og stifte familie) i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention.

Under en høring den 24. april 1990 henstillede den engelske regering til Domstolen at afsige dom om, at der ikke var sket brud på bestemmelserne.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol.

Rees mod The United Kingdom – Application no. 9532/81. Om ret til ændring af fødselsattest. Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 17. oktober 1986.

Vist 18 gange. I sagen Rees v. The United Kingdom – Application no. 9532/81 – frikendte Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol den 17. oktober 1986 England.
Mark Nicholas Alban Rees, der var kvinde til mand transseksuel, klagede til Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol over, at The United Kingdoms lovgivning ikke gav ham en juridiske status, der svarer til hans faktiske tilstand.

Ikke en overtrædelse af artikel 8 (ret til respekt for privatliv og familieliv):
Ændringerne krævet af sagsøgeren ville indebære grundlæggende ændring af systemet for føre et register over fødsler, hvilket vil have betydelige administrative konsekvenser og påføre resten af befolkningen nye afgifter. Retten har endvidere vedlagt vægt på, at The United Kingdom havde båret omkostningerne for hr. Rees’ medicinske behandling.
Men Domstolen var bevidst “om alvoren af transseksuelles problemer og deres lidelser” og anbefalede “at være opmærksomme på behovet for passende behandlinger især med hensyn til den videnskabelige og samfundsmæssige udviklingen”.

Ikke en overtrædelse af artikel 12 (retten til at gifte sig og stifte familie):
Den traditionelle opfattelse af ægteskabet var baseret på et forhold mellem personer af modsatte biologiske køn. Stater havde kompetencen til at regulere retten til at gifte sig.

Sagen vedrørte den britiske statsborger Mark Rees, der boede i Turnbridge Wells i England.
Mark Rees var født i 1942 som pige og fik navnet Brenda Margaret Rees. Allerede i en tidlig alder udviklede Rees maskuline træk. I 1970 fik Rees kendskab til transseksualisme og begyndte kort efter testetoronbehandling og udviklede dermed yderlige sine maskuline træk.
I 1971 ændrede Rees sit navn til Brendan Mark Rees, fik i maj 1974 fik fjernet sine bryster og i september 1977 ændret sit navn til Mark Nicholas Alban Rees og har siden levet som mand.
Rees fik imidlertid ikke tilladelse til at skifte kønsbetegnelse til “hr.” og blev nægtet udstedelse af ny fødselsattest med mandlig kønsbetegnelse.

Dommen i sin helhed hos Den Europæiske Domstol.