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  • Writer's pictureThe LGBTQ+ Law Clinic

From Leeds to London: Increased Provision for Witnessing Statutory Declarations

An application for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) can be time consuming and costly. And despite calls for the government to modernise the process, they have until now, refused. On the face of it, a £5 cost to submit your application for a GRC does not sound too daunting, but as is often the case, the devil is in the details.

As well as the application fee, trans people also have to provide a statutory declaration, two medical reports and a range of identification documents, which can add around an additional £300-500 to the cost. For instance, the NHS has a standard recommended charge of £80 for producing these reports but we do not know the size of these costs in practice or how often they are charged.

And crucially, as the Minister for Women and Equalities presented to Parliament in 2018, trans people have also reported costs in getting a witness for their statutory declaration. In theory, the usual cost of a statutory declaration to be witnessed is £5, especially considering the declaration is already drafted and ready within the GRC application form. Regardless, the experience of many trans people point to far higher costs.

This is something we are also very aware of in the Clinic. Many of those who have approached us to witness a statutory declaration have spoke to the lack of capacity in local solicitors, a lack of understanding and fear, as well as to disproportionate charges being quoted. There is clearly a need for the witnessing of statutory declarations to be made available on a far wider scale, by those who are either part of, or stand in solidarity with the trans community.

In the Clinic, enquiries relating to the GRC rank fourth highest in type of enquiry we have received, only behind immigration, employment, and family. As the witnessing of a statutory declaration must be in person, we have, up until now, only been able to provide this service from Cardiff. But now, our reach has grown exponentially and we can now offer a to witness a statutory declaration locally to those in the areas around Cambridge, Cardiff, Leeds, London, Manchester, and Nottingham.

This is purposeful. As we have done with our new immigration drop-in, when our government pushes further away from progressive change to legislation, we in turn, will intensify our own efforts and push back.

If you require your statutory declaration witnessed, all you have to do is contact us and we will take care of the rest.

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