Supreme Court hands down judgment in R (Elan-Cane) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] UKSC 56


The Supreme Court has handed down its judgment in an appeal brought by Christie Elan Cane. The appellant, a non-gendered person, sought judicial review of Her Majesty’s Passport Office’s policy that a passport will only be issued bearing a male (“M”) or female (“F”) indicator in the sex field on the face of the passport, and will not be issued with an “unspecified” (“X”) marker. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal and High Court that the policy did not breach Article 8 of the ECHR (either alone or taken with Article 14).

The Supreme Court also rejected the argument, derived from Re G (Adoption: Unmarried Couples) [2009] AC 173, that an act which does not violate the international law obligations of the UK under the ECHR can nevertheless be incompatible with a public authority’s obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998.

Sarah Hannett QC acted for the Secretary of State for the Home Department, led by Sir James Eadie QC.

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