Bell Vs Tavistock - Puberty Blockers and Detransitioning in the UK

Legal and Medical Implications

Mrs. Capricious


Photo by Denin Lawley on Unsplash

Originally published in Prism & Pen 09-03-21.

This work is presented in draft form for historical purposes. As far as I know the seminar was not minuted. As errors/omissions are mine.

The Bell Vs Tavistock judgement had lasting implications for the provision of healthcare to trans and GNC youth in the United Kingdom (before its repeal on 17th September 2021). Commentary has examined the judgement in detail since it was handed down December 2020.

Last week the Centre for Health, Law and Society and the Human Rights Implementation Clinic, in association with the University of Bristol hosted a seminar examining the Medical and Legal implications of the judgement, any merits and flaws therein, and potential for remedy on appeal.

The seminar was hosted by Dr. Peter Dunne, who provided a summary of the judgement, Dr. Sandra Duffy, who introduced the five expert speakers, Liam Davis who oversaw the session’s Q&A session.

To be clear, I’m a perennial undergrad scrub. So this is a lay idiot’s guide to an interesting and enlightening seminar.

Dr. Bianca Jackson, the first speaker is a barrister with a special interest in Best Interest Orders.
Best Interest orders are usually handed down in cases where parents and clinicians are at odds (think the Charlie Gard case). In the granting of such an order the court will undertake a balancing exercise, weighing the pros and cons. These are NOT limited to the immediate clinical merits of providing or withholding a treatment, but can also include factors such as general welfare, cultural and religious implications etc.
In the case of trans-related healthcare in pubertal youth a key factor is timescale. When it can take months, not weeks for hearings, direction, and other legal chicanery, not to mention the problematic nature of funding a legal challenge for many parents, it is clear that many trans youths would be forced to suffer a painful and ill-fitting period of development.

Dr. Jackson highlighted international precedent for a change in approach, showing that Australian courts had taken a similar…



Mrs. Capricious

Capricious by name, steadfast by nature. Trans femme dyke. Smutsmith. Provocateur. Witch. Poet. Slut. Idiot.