Appeal “LGB Alliance’s” charity status

by Good Law Project

Appeal “LGB Alliance’s” charity status

by Good Law Project
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Latest: Nov. 11, 2021

Their real purpose is not the protection of LGB rights

LGB Alliance’s trustees have now submitted a formal response to the appeal.

In addition to our grounds of appeal, we have now submitted two replies - one to the Charity Commission, and now one t…

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Charitable status is earned by those who serve the public good. Denigrating trans people, attacking those who speak for them, and campaigning to remove legal protections from them is the very opposite of a public good. 

Whatever sweet nothings the so-called “LGB Alliance” whispered into the ear of the Charity Commission the truth was set out in a speech by LGB Alliance director Bev Jackson on 9 March 2020. She described their real goal as follows:

“We’re applying for charitable status and building an organization to challenge the dominance of those who promote the damaging theory of gender identity.”

Their purpose is the denigration of trans people and the destruction of organisations that support them, in particular through political lobbying and campaigning for law change. 

These purposes are reprehensible and they are not charitable; they are political objectives - to roll back legal protections for trans people. 

To be registered as a charity, an organisation must be established exclusively for purposes which the law recognises as charitable, and it must pursue them in a way which gives rise to tangible benefits that outweigh any associated harms. 

We don’t believe that legal threshold has been met. 

So Mermaids, supported by LGBT+ Consortium, Gendered Intelligence, LGBT Foundation, TransActual, and Good Law Project, are appealing the Charity Commission’s decision to award the so-called “LGB Alliance” charity status. 

We have instructed Bindmans to act as solicitors. Michael Gibbon QC and Ted Loveday at Maitland Chambers are acting as Counsel. 

The case is not straightforward. There is very little law about who can challenge a flawed decision to recognise someone as a charity. But LGBTQ+ people across the UK face an onslaught of misinformation and attacks in the mainstream press, in politics and on social media. Those carrying out those attacks ought not to be dignified with charitable status - and the attacks should not be subsidised by the tax reliefs available to charities.

We, the country’s leading LGBTQ+ charities and organisations, speak with the single voice of a single community when we say our community will not be divided. We oppose transphobia in all its forms. We stand together.

Details

You can read the appeal as filed here and the supporting documents here. 

Any surplus will go to Good Law Project’s Legal Defence Fund for Transgender Lives. 

Update 3

Good Law Project

Nov. 11, 2021

Their real purpose is not the protection of LGB rights

LGB Alliance’s trustees have now submitted a formal response to the appeal.

In addition to our grounds of appeal, we have now submitted two replies - one to the Charity Commission, and now one to LGB Alliance.

As explained in previous updates, we have argued that LGB Alliance’s real purpose is not the protection of LGB rights - it is the denigration of trans people and the destruction of organisations that support them. 

Its trustees deny that. As our reply explains, we think their response is confused. But their arguments do illustrate just how many knots LGB Alliance has to tie itself in to try to justify its charitable status.

The trustees are trying to make sure none of these threads are pulled on. They have asked the Tribunal to hold a separate, preliminary hearing to determine whether or not Mermaids has legal standing to bring the claim, in the hope being that they can win on a technicality before having to properly explain themselves. Both we and the Charity Commission agree that the question of standing instead needs to be considered at a full hearing along with the substantive issues. We expect a decision from the Tribunal about how it intends to proceed shortly after 19 November. 

We are hugely grateful for your support so far.

Update 2

Good Law Project

Oct. 1, 2021

Update from the Tribunal

We have now received a directions order from the Tribunal, setting out the next steps for the case to trial. The key points in the order are that:

  • LGB Alliance is now a respondent to the appeal, along with the Charity Commission; and

  • The hearing is to take place between March and May 2022 (date to be confirmed).

Full directions had been agreed between Mermaids and the Charity Commission, and they were accordingly able to ask the Tribunal to make its order without the need for a hearing.

Shortly before the order was made, Mermaids and the Commission were notified that LGB Alliance was seeking to “intervene” in the appeal (to which neither of them objected). In the end, the Tribunal decided to give LGB Alliance a more formal role than they had asked for, by making them a respondent; that means they will have to set out a legal case in full. 

They have until 8 October to do so, after which Mermaids and the Commission will have the chance to make further submissions in response. 

We will provide a further update when we have received LGB Alliance’s formal response to the appeal. Your support in the meantime is much appreciated.

Update 1

Good Law Project

June 16, 2021

The Tribunal has set out next steps

Two weeks ago, we supported Mermaids in launching a challenge to the Charity Commission’s decision to grant LGB Alliance charitable status. The First Tier Tribunal has now set out deadlines for the next stage of the appeal.

By 13 July, the Commission must produce a response explaining its decision to register LGB Alliance. It also has to provide copies of any documents which it relied on in reaching its decision, and any other documents which might support Mermaids’ case. Our legal team will review that material carefully and, if possible, will use it to bolster the appeal.

There will then be a case management hearing in early September, at which the Tribunal will decide how to progress the appeal to a final hearing.

For now, we await the Commission’s response – we will keep you posted. 

Thank you for your support.

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