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by Kirsteen Paterson
17 January 2024
UK Government seeks to recover costs incurred in gender court challenge

Alister Jack | Alamy

UK Government seeks to recover costs incurred in gender court challenge

The UK Government has officially told Scottish ministers it wants payback for its Section 35 case costs.

The Westminster veto was used for the first time to stop Scotland's gender recognition reforms being enacted.

The Scottish Government called that an attack on democracy and went to court to challenge the move.

However, the Court of Session found that Westminster’s actions were lawful and the SNP-Green administration said it would not appeal the ruling.

The case is understood to have cost the UK Government around £150,000 to defend, while the Scottish Government spent around £230,000.

Now the Scotland Office has confirmed that the UK Government will seek an award of expenses from the Edinburgh administration.

A motion is expected to be lodged this week.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: "The Scottish Government chose to pursue this litigation in spite of the cost to the taxpayer.

"My legal advisers have today intimated to the Scottish Government that we have started the process of seeking an award of expenses in defending the case."

The Gender Recognition Reform Act received cross-party backing in Holyrood in December 2022.

However, Jack used veto powers written into the Scotland Act to prevent it from gaining Royal Assent on the grounds that the introduction of a self-ID system for transgender people in Scotland would affect UK-wide equalities laws.

Last month judge Lady Haldane found in the UK Government's favour.

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