Law Firms

Clifford Chance acts pro bono in ‘X Passport’ case

The firm is acting pro bono on behalf of its client Christie Elan-Cane, who launched judicial review proceedings in 2017 challenging the “lawfulness” of the UK government's passport policy

Clifford Chance has announced that it will present judicial review proceedings on ‘X Passports’ in the Supreme Court between 12-13 July. 

The firm is acting pro bono on behalf of its client Christie Elan-Cane, who launched judicial review proceedings in 2017 challenging the “lawfulness” of the UK government’s passport policy.

According to the law firm, the policy requires that either an ‘M’ or an ‘F’ gender marker appear on every UK passport and does not allow for a non-gender specific marker, notwithstanding that non-gender specific passports (X passports) are permitted by the “relevant international standards and are available in a number of countries worldwide”.

In 2018, the High Court held that the government’s policy was “not unlawful”, and in 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld that ruling. 

However, the Courts found that the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights does “include a right to respect for a person’s non-gendered identity”. 

Clifford Chance said that this is a “milestone” in LGBTQ+ civil rights litigation as it marks the first time the UK Courts have recognised that Article 8 guarantees a right to respect for those who “identify outside the binary concepts of male and female”. 

The team has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on the basis that the case “raises issues of general public importance”.

Eraldo d’Atri, senior associate at Clifford Chance, said: “This case raises important questions regarding the right to respect for individuals’ identity, specifically for those who identify as neither or not exclusively male or female.

“Access to X passports is crucial for the protection of the human rights of this demographic, who are otherwise forced to use a passport which misrepresents their identity.”

She added: “The significance of this case is further highlighted by the recent announcement in the US by the Secretary of State that a third non gender specific option on US passports would be available.”

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