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JK Rowling’s friend Allison Bailey resumes legal battle with Stonewall

A barrister who won a tribunal against her chambers after they discriminated against her for her beliefs on gender rights has resumed her battle with a controversial LGBT charity.

Allison Bailey, who is friends with JK Rowling, had accused Garden Court Chambers of withholding work from her and trying to crush her spirit.

She said it happened after she criticised Stonewall’s trans policies including recommendations to change pronouns from ‘she and he’ to ‘they and their’.

Ms Bailey – who is a lesbian – believes sex is biological and cannot change, and that the word ‘woman’ is defined as ‘adult human female’. 

She won £22,000 in damages from GCC after winning part of the discrimination case.

But she lost part of her case in her claim that Stonewall had instructed or induced the treatment by the chambers. 

Today she announced she had appealed against part of the tribunal’s ruling.

She said: ‘I have appealed the decision of the ET dismissing my claim against Stonewall for causing a basic contravention of the Equality Act 2010. The appeal has been lodged at the EAT within the deadline. It will almost certainly be heard in the new year.

Allison Bailey accused LGBTQ charity Stonewall of operating 'like a criminal protection racket' by persuading firms to follow its transgender policies. Pictured: Harry Potter author JK Rowling with Ms Bailey during a lunch with other prominent feminists in London in April

Allison Bailey accused LGBTQ charity Stonewall of operating ‘like a criminal protection racket’ by persuading firms to follow its transgender policies. Pictured: Harry Potter author JK Rowling with Ms Bailey during a lunch with other prominent feminists in London in April

Some members of the LGBT community is calling on the public bodies and private companies who are members of Stonewall to come out of the charity scheme

Some members of the LGBT community is calling on the public bodies and private companies who are members of Stonewall to come out of the charity scheme

Allison announced this morning she would be appealing the decision relating to Stonewall

Allison announced this morning she would be appealing the decision relating to Stonewall

‘The EAT will be asked to order that my claim against Stonewall succeeds. Garden Court Chambers have not appealed. The ET’s decision against them for discrimination & victimisation & the award of damages & aggravated damages stands.

‘The ET’s findings that gender critical belief includes the belief that ‘gender identity theory as proselytised by Stonewall is severely detrimental’ to women, and lesbians, is unchallenged and also stands. Stonewall is not off the hook. Far from it.’

The partially-successful judgement in July saw Ms Rowling praise Ms Bailey as her ‘heroine’.

Within minutes of the ruling, the Harry Potter writer tweeted: ‘Allison Bailey is a heroine to me and innumerable other feminists for refusing to abandon her beliefs and principles in the fact of intimidation and discrimination. Congratulations’, adding: ‘And I couldn’t be prouder of my friend’.

In December 2018 Ms Bailey complained to her colleagues about the chambers becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion, saying that Stonewall advocated ‘trans extremism’ and was complicit in a campaign of intimidation of those who questioned gender self-identity. 

She founded the LGB Alliance group, which argues there is a conflict between the rights of lesbian, gay and bisexual people, and transgender people – and opposes many of Stonewall’s policies, including the assertion that ‘trans women are women’.

On April 11, JK Rowling hosted some of Britain's most prominent feminists and women's activists - including Allison Bailey - to support the 'Respect My Sex' campaign

On April 11, JK Rowling hosted some of Britain’s most prominent feminists and women’s activists – including Allison Bailey – to support the ‘Respect My Sex’ campaign


Ms Bailey claims that Stonewall convinced her employer Garden Court Chambers to investigate her support of gender-critical beliefs and is suing them both for discrimination

Ms Bailey claims that Stonewall convinced her employer Garden Court Chambers to investigate her support of gender-critical beliefs and is suing them both for discrimination 

Ms Bailey received backing from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who tweeted a picture of her 'inspirational' friend to mark Lesbian Visibility Week

Ms Bailey received backing from Harry Potter author JK Rowling, who tweeted a picture of her ‘inspirational’ friend to mark Lesbian Visibility Week 

The tribunal found that GCC discriminated against Ms Bailey by publishing a tweet saying it was investigating her and by upholding a claim by Stonewall arguing that two of her tweets ‘were likely to breach (The Bar Standards Board’s) core duties’.

But allegations that it discriminated against and victimised her through withholding of instructions and work in 2019, causing the claimant financial loss, a claim of indirect discrimination by GCC, and a claim that Stonewall instructed, caused or induced GCC to discriminate against her, were dismissed.

In December 2018, Ms Bailey complained to her colleagues about GCC becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion, claiming the group advocated ‘trans extremism’ and was complicit in a campaign of intimidation of those who questioned gender self-identity.

In October 2019 she was involved in setting up the LGB Alliance advocacy group to resist ‘gender extremism’.

Her tweets opposing trans rights campaigns led to tweets and complaints being sent to GCC, alleging her opinions were transphobic and damaged GCC’s reputation.

The tribunal held that her gender-critical belief that Stonewall wanted to replace sex with gender identity, that the absolutist tone of its advocacy of gender self-identity made it complicit in threats against women, and that it eroded women’s rights and lesbian same-sex orientation, were beliefs protected under the Equality Act.

A reserved judgment handed down upheld her claim that GCC discriminated against her because of her belief, when it tweeted that the complaints would be investigated under a complaints procedure, and when it found in December 2019 that two of her tweets were likely to breach barristers’ core duties.

GCC was ordered to pay her £22,000 compensation for injury to feelings, plus interest of £4,693.33.

At the time the chambers said it was ‘reviewing the judgment carefully with our legal team with a view to appeal’ but has not done so.

A Spokesperson for Stonewall said ‘The recent decision by the Employment Tribunal found that Stonewall had NOT instructed, caused or induced Garden Court Chambers to discriminate against Allison Bailey.

‘We have not been notified by the Employment Appeal Tribunal of any appeal by Allison Bailey, but should we receive this, we will defend ourselves robustly.’ 

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