Gender-neutral toilets should not cause controversy, says senior judge

Gender-neutral toilets should not cause controversy because they have always been used in France, says Britain’s most senior judge

  • Lord Burnett spoke out after unisex facilities were introduced at the High Court
  • Follows three years of controversy over introduction of gender-neutral cubicles 
  • Move provoked complaints from women who say it threatens female safe spaces
  • Lord Burnett said he had not taken any part in the decision to introduce them 

The country’s most senior judge has declared that gender-neutral toilets should not cause controversy because they have always been used in France.

Lord Burnett, who as Lord Chief Justice is in charge of the judiciary in England and Wales, spoke out after unisex facilities were introduced at the High Court’s headquarters during a refurbishment programme.

His defence of toilets shared by both sexes follows three years of controversy over the introduction of gender-neutral cubicles in a wide range of public buildings, including schools, colleges, Army bases and the Home Office in Westminster.

Lord Burnett (pictured), who as Lord Chief Justice is in charge of the judiciary in England and Wales, said gender-neutral toilets should not cause controversy because they have always been used in France

The move has provoked complaints from women who say it threatens female safe spaces.

Fears over women’s safety have also been triggered over transgender people using ladies’ toilets.

But the Lord Chief Justice has no problem with gender-neutral toilets, saying yesterday: ‘Have you travelled much in Europe, for example? 

‘I mean, unisex loos in France have been my experience ever since I was a small boy, so I do not think there is any jumping of the gun.’

His defence of the toilets follows three years of controversy over the introduction of gender-neutral cubicles in a wide range of public buildings (Royal Courts of Justice are pictured)

Lord Burnett said he had not taken any part in the decision to introduce the gender-neutral facilities in the Victorian court buildings in central London.

‘I am afraid there are many things about the world of the courts that I know quite a lot about,’ he said. 

‘But the details of the lavatorial arrangements in our court buildings, I have to confess are something that I have never encountered and never given a moment’s thought to – nor have I been involved in, forgive me.’

The idea that judges who preside over courts should also be referred to by gender- neutral titles – rather than as Lord Justice, Lady Justice or Mr or Mrs – was dismissed by Lord Burnett. 

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