Transgender appellants win appeal in Q, Tse Henry Edward v Commissioner of Registration [2023] HKCFA 4


The Court of Final Appeal handed down a landmark ruling that a policy on HKID card amendment adopted by the Commissioner of Registration was unconstitutional.

The Commissioner of Registration adopts a policy which requires individuals to have completed full sex reassignment surgery if they seek to have the gender marker on their HKID changed to show the gender that they identify with (“Policy”).

The appellants Q and Tse Henry Edward are transgender persons who applied to change their gender markers on their HKID cards. The appellants were born female but have identified themselves as male since they were young. However, the Commissioner refused their applications as they had not undergone full sex reassignment surgery. 

The appellants brought judicial review proceedings against the Commissioner for breaching their right to privacy protected by Article 14 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights (“BOR 14”). They were unsuccessful at the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal. The Appellants appealed.

The Court of Final Appeal held that the Policy disproportionately encroached upon the appellants’ rights under BOR 14 and imposed an unacceptably harsh burden on the individuals concerned.

The Court of Final Appeal allowed the appeals and declared the Commissioner’s refusal and Policy unconstitutional.

Joanne Brown and Jamie Choy

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Joanne Brown
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Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.