THE UK Government has drafted in a lawyer who helped prepare the case for the Supreme Court hearing over indyref2 to fight the upcoming gender reform battle. 

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government confirmed that they will challenge the UK Government's decision to block the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from becoming law in court. 

They have lodged a petition for a judicial review of Scottish Secretary Alister Jack's use of Section 35 of the Scotland Act to stop the legislation from being given Royal Assent and becoming law.

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Humza Yousaf had pledged to push ahead with a legal review if he won the SNP leadership contest, and it was one of his first moves as First Minister, due to the short deadline imposed by the campaign. 

And now, it has been revealed that David Johnston KC, who helped build the case for the Westminster government during the Supreme Court referendum court battle, has been reportedly drafted into the gender reform fight. 

Johnston is currently honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh Law School and previously held the position of regius professor of civil law at the University of Cambridge. 

Sir James Eadie KC argued the UK Government's case at the Supreme Court hearing last year, but the Scottish Mail on Sunday reported that Johnston was instrumental in building the case and has been drafted in for the gender reform battle. 

The National: James Eadie KC led the case for the UK during the Supreme Court indyref challengeJames Eadie KC led the case for the UK during the Supreme Court indyref challenge (Image: NQ)

We previously told how Holyrood's gender reforms passed with cross-party support in December 2022, with some Scottish Tories even breaking ranks and voting for it.

However, less than a month later, the UK Government announced that it would be using a Section 35 order to stop the reforms from becoming law.

The legislation would have made changes to the process in which a transgender person can obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) to allow their gender to be legally recognised.

It would have allowed trans Scots to self-identify, rather than require a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a policy the UK Tories are vehemently ideologically opposed to.

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The reforms also reduced the time required for the person to live in their new gender before being granted a GRC, as well as further provisions for teenagers. 

A Section 35 order had never been used by the UK Government prior to this decision. 

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, who laid the order, has said the UK Government will "robustly defend" its decision in court.

It comes after the Scottish Government accused the UK of "irrational" concerns around the gender reforms in their challenge against Section 35.

Scottish ministers filed with the Court of Session, seeking to overturn Jack's decision.

As Section 35 has never been used before, commentators have been reluctant to call which way the case will go.  

Professor Adam Tomkins, former Conservative MSP and current chair of public law at the University of Glasgow, said: "I don't think anybody really expects the UK to lose, but you never know.

"As we all know, Section 35 has never been used before so its exact legal parameters have been untested."