Gender recognition and civil partnership issues

8th March 2015 by


If you need legal advice regarding civil partnership, Brighton solicitors Healys is here to help. We can offer expert legal advice and representation on the legal implications of civil partnership, pre-civil partnership agreements and civil partnership dissolution (including financial claims on dissolution).

Gender Recognition Act 2004

The Act came into effect on 4 April 2005 following various rulings in the European Court of Human Rights – most notably the case of Christine Goodwin where it was determined that the UK Government had discriminated against Goodwin under Articles 8 and 12 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Since enactment, the Act has given transsexual people the right to change their legally recognised gender by the granting of a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC), which sanctions the issue of an appropriate birth certificate recognising their acquired gender in law.

The Act and marriage/civil partnerships

Supporters of transsexual rights have raised concerns about the Act in regard to civil partnerships and marriages.

For a married person to receive a GRC they have to, by law (May 2012), get a divorce or have their marriage annulled. If they wish to keep their legally-joined status (pertinent for wills, etc.) once the GRC is granted, they must then obtain a civil-partnership agreement.

In 2012 the issue of same-sex marriage was a hot topic in parliament with many gay-rights campaigners and some MPs urging a change to the law so that same-sex couples could get married, rather than solely being able to be civil-partnered.

However, until any change is made, transsexual persons face a dilemma.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) voiced its awareness of the problems faced by married transsexual couples when it made a submission to the sixth periodic report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which recommended that the government should amend “the Gender Recognition Act to allow for the automatic conversion of a marriage into a civil partnership upon one member of the couple obtaining a gender recognition certificate”.

Likewise, for a civil-partnered couple where one spouse obtains a GRC they will have to undergo the same annulment process, as a civil-partnership is currently deemed to be for same-sex couples only.

How will a GRC affect you and your partner?

If you have any questions about your rights and gender recognition why not call Healys in Brighton or London today.

Our family law team has all the expertise you need to advise on gender recognition and its ramifications for marriage and civil-partnership, and, as a full service law firm, we are able to call upon the knowledge of other lawyers who have experience in the fields of human rights.

To talk about any legal aspect pertaining to civil-partnership or gender recognition, please call Healys LLP today.

To speak to a family lawyer in Brighton call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to

Alternatively, the family law team in London can be reached on 020 7822 4000. We look forward to helping you.