The High Court has refused to grant a judicial review brought by a 15-year-old girl against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over its affiliation with Stonewall.
The schoolgirl, known in legal documents as Miss A, brought the legal action following a previous legal threat in which she argued that the CPS’s hate crime guidance for schools was unlawful.
The CPS withdrew the guidance for review, but the teenager said it could not remain impartial on issues such as the prosecution of transgender ‘hate crimes’ while it remains part of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.
The guidance for schools originally made a number of troubling claims.
These included saying it could be a hate crime if a pupil believes they have been excluded from a friendship group because of their sexual orientation, or if a school does not allow a male pupil who says they are transgender to access girls’ changing rooms.
Drawn up by the CPS alongside LGBT activist groups Stonewall and Gendered Intelligence, the guidance said that “rejecting someone” and “not wanting to work with them” were further examples of potential “anti-LGBT+ hate crime or LGBT+ hate incidents”.
Stonewall ‘misrepresents’ law
The CPS removed the guidance for review before the case went to court, but Miss A said at the time that she did not believe its review could be unbiased given its close ties to Stonewall.
She accused the pro-trans lobby group of “misrepresenting what the law says about my rights to female-only spaces”.
She added that, due to the affiliation, she could not trust the CPS “to focus on the safety, privacy and dignity of girls, or to balance the rights of all young people in schools”.
Miss A launched a fresh legal challenge, but last week Mr Justice Cavanagh refused to grant a judicial review, ruling it “unarguable”. He said individual prosecutors would not be influenced by the CPS’s links with Stonewall.
The judge claimed: “The CPS maintains its membership as a Stonewall Diversity Champion in its capacity as an employer, not in relation to its capacity or functions as a prosecutorial authority.”
During the course of the hearing the CPS announced that rather than reviewing the guidance it would not reissue it at all.
Groups campaigning against the schools guidance expressed their disappointment at the ruling, but welcomed the announcement that the schools guidance would not be reissued.
Safe Schools Alliance tweeted: “The judicial review has not been granted. This is incredibly disappointing. We are pleased to hear that there are no plans to reissue the schools pack.”
Fair Cop also tweeted: “A defeat – but also a victory. The ‘hate crimes’ guidance for schools has been withdrawn and no plans to re-issue. If that changes, we will all still be here and we won’t let it go un-noticed or unchallenged.”
Miss A is considering appealing the ruling.