Family Law Hub

P (Transgender Applicant for Declaration of Valid Marriage) [2019] EWHC 3105 (Fam)

An application was made for recognition of a 2009 marriage as valid. The applicant, born female, had lived as a man from 1990, but had not obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate once they became available in 2005, and hence was still legally female at the time of the marriage, when same sex marriage was not yet legal. This had caused problems with the Department of Work and Pensions regarding pension entitlement. Cobb J considered the case law and stated that, both now and at the time of the marriage in 2009, the applicant must be treated by the court as being legally a woman. The United Kingdom had not failed to provide a legal mechanism for the recognition of the relationship, since the couple could enter a civil partnership, marry as a same-sex couple, or marry as an opposite-sex couple after obtaining a gender recognition certificate. At the relevant time a marriage between two female partners was void at its inception and the court did not have the power to make the declaration sought.

Published: 28/11/2019


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