6. Legal Aid Impact Test
6.1. There could potentially be costs for the Scottish Legal Aid Board if the Bill were implemented, but any cost implications would be minimal.
6.2. For example, the removal of any requirements for medical evidence or documentary evidence of the applicant having lived in their acquired gender throughout a defined period prior to the application date would reduce any potential requirement for an applicant to consult a solicitor, as part of the process of preparing their application. This should minimise the number of applicants who seek legal advice and use legal aid advice and assistance.
6.3. The Bill also provides that an applicant who disputes a decision of the RGS, for example, to refuse an application on the basis it does not comply with the statutory requirements, must firstly ask the RGS to review that decision. After review, they could raise an appeal in the sheriff court in certain circumstances. Currently, an appeal against a decision of the Gender Recognition Panel requires to be raised in the Court of Session in Scotland.
6.4. Removing the necessity for medical evidence or documentary evidence demonstrating that an applicant has lived in their acquired gender for the required period should also reduce the possibilities for an application to be refused, and thereby reduce the likelihood of appeals. The number of appeals under the 2004 Act is very low in any event. There have been two appeals against Gender Recognition Panel decisions, one of which was to the Court of Session in Scotland (the other was in England).
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