DLA Piper represents Norrie’s right to be recognised as neither male nor female

DLA Piper is representing Norrie in the High Court on 4 March 2014 to defend the right to be recognised as neither male nor female on the NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages register. DLA Piper is representing Norrie on a pro-bono basis.

In May 2013, the NSW Court of Appeal made history when it held that the word ‘sex’ under the legislation is not limited to ‘male’ or ‘female’ but can include other options.

Scott McDonald, a partner at DLA Piper and Norrie’s solicitor, said: ‘If successful, this could have ramifications across Australia. The Court of Appeal landmark decision that the law can recognise people who do not identify as male or female was a positive outcome for Norrie and others who do not identify as male or female. We are keen to see that decision upheld.’

The case began in 2010 when Norrie, who does not identify as male or female, applied to the NSW Registrar to register Norrie’s sex as ‘non-specific’. The NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) and its Appeals Panel both held that that this was not possible as the word ‘sex’ could only mean male or female. The NSW Court of Appeal overturned this decision, effectively recognising that sex is not necessarily a binary concept.

On 4 March, the High Court will be asked to consider whether the Court of Appeal erred in ruling that Norrie could register a change of sex to something other than male or female; and that a person’s sex could be registered as ‘non-specific’.

As other states have similarly worded legislation, a decision by the High Court could have ramifications for other states.

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