Tribunal hears charity’s appeal to remove LGB Alliance from register

13 Sep 2022 News

An appeal brought by Mermaids, a transgender rights charity, against the regulator’s decision to register LGB Alliance as a charity is being heard this week, in the first tribunal of its kind.

It is believed that this is the first tribunal where one charity has attempted to strip the legal status of another. The tribunal began on 9 September and is now on its third day. 

The Charity Commission registered LGB Alliance as a charity in April 2021, despite noting that it used “inflammatory language” on social media. The charity was initially formed as a private company in opposition to LGBT rights charity Stonewall’s transgender policies in 2019 and applied for charitable status a year later. 

LGB Alliance aims to advance the rights of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals but holds gender-critical beliefs.

Mermaids’ argument

In Mermaids’ appeal, which is being supported by the Good Law Project, the charity argues that LGB Alliance does not have charitable purposes or serve the public interest. It has asked the tribunal to review whether it meets the legal tests to be a charity.

In its skeleton argument, it argues that LGB Alliance is not tackling problems facing lesbian, gay and bisexual people, as it professes to do, but is instead seeking to prevent solving the problems of transgender people and has an exclusively ‘anti-trans’ focus. 

The charity's argument concludes by asking the tribunal to find that LGB Alliance is not a charity and direct the Commission to remove it from the register. LGB Alliance denies these claims. 

LGB Alliance’s argument

In its skeleton argument, LGB Alliance states there is a “considerable lack of clarity” in Mermaids’ appeal and “in essence and reality, the appellant’s appeal is simply predicated on ideological disagreement with the values and beliefs that underpin LGB Alliance’s work”.

It disputes Mermaids’ claims, stating that LGB Alliance’s purposes are charitable and that it exists for the public benefit. 

LGB Alliance concludes that Mermaids’ argument “lacks standing and that is a basis by itself for dismissing this appeal”. 

It also disputes Mermaids’ assertion that LGB Alliance is operating on a “misreading” of the Equality Act 2010, as its charitable objectives do not extend to trans people. The LGB Alliance has argued that its work lawful, protected and underpinned by the Act. 

The charity has argued that there is no detrimental effect to Mermaids or anyone, arising from LGB Alliance’s work, thus quashing the need for an appeal. 

Over 4,000 pages of evidence 

Mermaids have also criticised the large amount of documentary evidence LGB Alliance has provided for the hearing, which surpasses 4,000 pages. 

The charity argues that 2,545 pages make no mention of LGB Alliance or LGB rights, which they believe strengthens their viewpoint that the charity is “near-exclusively focused on transgender issues”. 

However, LGB Alliance’s appeal argues that this amount of documentation proved necessary due to the appellant’s amount of anecdotal evidence and reiterates that the appeal is predicated on a difference of view.

Mermaids v LGB Alliance

Mermaids are publishing daily updates on the hearing on its website. LGB Alliance has also been publishing the witness statements from the hearing in full.

A crowdfunder set up to defend LGB Alliance’s charitable status has raised almost £175,000 while Mermaids has currently raised over £80,000. 

In its latest set of annual accounts, a quarter of LGB Alliance’s expenditure was on legal costs. 

The hearing is ongoing.


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