Ireland: Transgender legal recognition finally within reach thanks to Foy’s case

Today, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) salutes Dr Lydia Foy for her courage and determination and congratulates her for bringing legal recognition of transgender people finally within reach in Ireland.

During a period spanning over two decades, Dr Lydia Foy was forced repeatedly to bring legal proceedings challenging the Irish authorities’ continuing failure to issue her with a new birth certificate reflecting legal recognition of her female gender.

The ICJ intervened before the High Court in Dublin as an amicus curiae, a friend of the court, in the latest case brought by Dr Foy. She sought an effective remedy against the Irish State’s violation of her right to respect for her private life as a result of the authorities’ failure to make provisions for the legal recognition of her acquired gender identity.

Today, 29 January 2015, the Irish state and Dr Foy formally settled the case before the High Court following the publication and introduction of the Gender Recognition Bill in the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament), and the start of the parliamentary debate on the Bill.

It is high time that Ireland enacts legislation giving effect to their international human rights legal obligation to legally recognize people’s preferred gender identity. The ICJ urges the Irish authorities to proceed promptly to ensure that trans persons in Ireland obtain as of right a birth certificate showing the gender that they prefer. In doing so, the Irish authorities should ensure that each person, whatever their gender identity, may enjoy their internationally recognized human rights without discrimination, including their right to respect for their private life.


In October 2014 the ICJ filed written legal submissions in Dr Foy’s case to assist the High Court in the determination of certain points of law relating to the right to an effective national remedy under the European Convention on Human Rights. The organization’s submissions addressed, among others, the requirement that a domestic remedy be effective in law and practice. Namely, that a remedy must be accessible and enable the enforcement of the substance of the rights at stake; and that the national authority before which recourse is had must be capable of granting an appropriate relief, and offer reasonable prospects of success.

The ICJ was represented pro bono by Gráinne Gilmore BL and Elizabeth Mitrow and Wendy Lyon of KOD Lyons Solicitors.



AdvocacyCasesLegal submissionsNewsWeb stories