A KEY legal hearing is to go forward via video conferencing tomorrow as campaigners challenge the Scottish Government over the meaning of “woman”.

If successful, the crowdfunded move could lead to the scrapping of two-year-old legislation backed by all parties but the Tories.

For Women Scotland (FWS) was last year granted a judicial review into the Gender Representation on Public Boards Act 2018 (GRPBA). It was passed as part of efforts to drive up the number of women in senior positions on public bodies, setting up a 50% target for non-executive women members on public boards, with only the Tories voting against it.

Its wording covers trans women who have changed their legal sex from male to female using a gender recognition certificate, as well as others who are “living as a woman” and are “proposing to undergo” such a change “for the purpose of becoming female”.

FWS argues that this redefines the UK Government’s 2010 Equality Act, which defines a woman as a female of any age.

They say this was done without sufficient public or parliamentary scrutiny and is an overstepping of the Scottish Parliament’s power because the area is reserved to Westminster.

The matter will go before the Court of Session in a virtual hearing tomorrow.

As well as FWS and lawyers for the Scottish Government, human rights lawyers Just Right Scotland will appear. The Glasgow-based practice is acting for Scottish Trans, which is part of LGBT organisation Equality Network.

It was given permission to intervene as a third-party and can submit evidence about why it believes any change to the GRPBA would be “an unnecessary setback to trans equality and inclusion”.

The organisation says trans women represent an estimated 0.2% of the population and claims FWS’ actions are “damaging to the interests of all women”.

Tomorrow’s session will take the form of a substantive hearing, with access to be granted to members of the public via an email application to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.

The hearing comes amidst ongoing tension over gender laws. Plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act were amongst those paused at the outset of the pandemic and

the SNP and Scottish Government have each faced accusations of transphobia and misogyny over the handling of the changes Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership hopes to enact.

Last month Andy Wightman MSP quit the Scottish Greens over its stance on trans and women’s rights in a decision taken after tense debate relating to the provision of examiners to victims of sexual crimes. MSPs voted in favour of an amendment brought forward by Labour’s Johann Lamont that allows the survivors of rape and sexual assaults to state the preferred sex, not gender, of the person attending to them after an assault.

Last year a Holyrood consultation said evidence of living continuously as a woman would include “always using female pronouns, using a female name on official documents such as a driving licence or passport, or on utility bills or bank accounts; describing themselves and being described by others in written or other communication using female language”.