Grant v. United Kingdom 32570/03 ECHR

The European Court of Human Rights delivered a judgment yesterday which was quite similar to a recent judgment of the European Court of Justice.

In the June issue of the Common Market Law Review, there is a very interesting article by Professor
Douglas-Scott (link to article below), in which she analyses the interaction between the human rights jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice.

A good example of such interaction, or at least its usefullness, is the Grant v. United Kingdom case of the European Court of Human Rights, delivered yesterday. The case is remarkably similar to the Richards case of the ECJ of last month.

Under UK law, a woman born before 6 April 1950 is eligible to receive a retirement at the age of 60.

In Richards, the European Court of Justice held that the UK Government’s refusal to give a sex-change woman a pension at the age of 60 on the ground that she must wait for her pension until the male pension age of 65, constituted an infringement of Article 4 of
Directive 79/7/EEC concerning the prohibition of discrimination in statutory social security schemes.

Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights held that the UK Government’s refusal to give a sex-change woman a pension at the age of 60 on the ground that she must wait for her pension until the male pension age of 65, constituted an infringement of Article 8 of the European Convention Human Rights.

Mrs Grant, who had appealed unsuccessfully after her application had been denied, requested her case to be reopened in the light of the
2002 Goodwin case, which of course is famous for being the first case in which the European Court of Human Rights cited the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The European Court of Human Rights yesterday held that following Goodwin, there was “no longer any justification for failing to recognize the change of gender of post-operative transsexuals.”(para. 41).

The Court therefore found that there had been a breach of Mrs Grant’s right to respect for private and family life, as enshrined in article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.


Text of Grant v. United Kingdom (or in .doc).

Post on Case C-423/04, Richards v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (with relevant links)

Article by Professor Douglas-Scott (requires access to Kluwer)