Police Appeal Over Transsexual Case
[UNITED KINGDOM] - West Yorkshire Police are to challenge a groundbreaking court decision which ruled it was wrong to ban a transsexual from the force.
The woman was prevented from becoming a police constable on the grounds she could not carry out her full duties.
But the Court of Appeal last month ruled West Yorkshire Police had acted illegally in banning her from joining.
The force is now seeking leave to appeal to the House of Lords on the grounds the decision threatens the right of public bodies to make policy decisions.
Chief constable Colin Cramphorn said: "Our concern in this case is not gender, it is the fact that the Court of Appeal reached a decision based on legal judgements brought after 1997.
"This is a charter for hindsight.
"If this ruling goes unchallenged then any decision made by a public body can be overturned by subsequent legal findings and the public body be held accountable.
"It threatens the entire decision making process of every public institution."
The judgement was in part based on a case heard in the European Court of Human Rights in July 2002 and applied retrospectively to the West Yorkshire case.
The woman, known as Miss A during the court proceedings, had successfully completed a police assessment course.
But her application to join West Yorkshire Police was rejected in 1997.
She underwent sex change surgery in 1996 and now has no male characteristics.
Essex and North Yorkshire each have serving transsexual police officers but this is the first case in which an existing transsexual has sought to become a police officer in England.