Campaign group Stonewall will face a legal claim next year that it encouraged a lesbian barrister’s chambers to discipline her because of her views on transgender activists.
Allison Bailey is suing Stonewall over allegations the organisation tried to silence her after she co-founded a group called the LGB Alliance, which opposes Stonewall’s view that trans women are women in the eyes of the law.
Her original claim against Stonewall and her chambers, Garden Court in London, was for indirect discrimination and victimisation. A judge has now agreed that she should be able to make further arguments for discrimination on the grounds of philosophical belief.
Bailey helped to set up the LGB Alliance in October 2019, and nine days later Stonewall sent a complaint to her chambers citing her views. In June 2020 she announced she would sue Stonewall and her chambers for attempts to “police” her views.
In June, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that gender-critical views can be protected as a philosophical belief for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 in the case of Maya Forstater vs CGD Europe & Others.
Researcher Forstater had a contract with the Centre for Global Development terminated after she expressed views on transgender issues on her Twitter account. She wrote that the claim “trans-women are women” was a “delusion” and undermined women’s rights, and CGD staff raised concerns her tweets were transphobic.
The judge in Bailey’s case will allow her to make similar arguments to those raised in the Forstater case.
This is the second of two applications by Stonewall to strike out Bailey’s claims, with a previous attempt rejected in June.
Rejecting a previous claim, Judge Holly Stout said that it was “plainly arguable” that the campaign group “sought to induce chambers to subject the claimant to a detriment because of her publicly expressed beliefs and the allegations she had made against Stonewall”.
Bailey has raised more than £150,000 towards her legal costs via a crowdfunding page.