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Case No 1258812/2018 – Algeria

Litigation Degree: Second
Case No: 1258812/2018
Issuing Court: Supreme Court
Judgment: Unfavourable, the request for legal gender recognition was denied
Judgment Date: 04/07/2018

The plaintiff, K.L., filed a lawsuit (requesting a legal change of gender from male to female) before the Supreme Court of Algeria, challenging the decision of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and a lower court ruling. The decision rejected the plaintiff’s request to recognize a French judgment, which granted legal gender recognition in her French documents. The Public Prosecutor’s Office and the lower court argued that the French Court’s decision contradicted public order, public morals, and the provisions of Islamic sharia law. The plaintiff maintained that she was assigned male at birth, but believes it was an error, as she identifies as female. She seeks medical intervention to correct her gender, without undergoing a complete sex change, which she argues is not contrary to Islamic law. On 4/7/2018, the Supreme Court of Algeria dismissed the appeal based on the provisions of article 605/4 of the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure, article 222 of the Family Code, and articles 49 to 57 of the Civil Status Code. The Court determined that the plaintiff’s hormonal and surgical treatments were in violation of Islamic sharia law and the ethical standards of Algerian society. Furthermore, the Court found that the plaintiff relied on a foreign court’s ruling, rather than the ruling of a local court with jurisdiction over her place of birth, which rendered the judgement null and void.

The plaintiff, K.L., has filed a claim before the French Court of Grenoble seeking a modification of her personal information in official documents to reflect her transition from male to female. The French Court, in its decision dated 19/1/2004, acknowledged the plaintiff’s right to this change. The plaintiff attempted to recognize this foreign judgement in Algeria. However, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and lower Court refused to acknowledge the French Court’s ruling, citing its alleged inconsistency with Islamic sharia and Algerian public order and morality. Consequently, the plaintiff has appealed the prosecution’s decision to the Supreme Court, arguing that she is not seeking a change of sex as she was assigned female at birth in the municipality of El Affroun, but her parents mistakenly registered her as male. The plaintiff maintains that the procedures she underwent were solely intended to rectify her assigned sex, which does not violate either public order or Islamic law.

The Supreme Court dismissed the plaintiff K.L.’s appeal for several reasons: 1. Incompatibility with morality and Algerian public order 2. The sex change did not occur spontaneously, naturally or biologically, but rather because of the intervention of the plaintiff with hormonal therapy and surgery. This intervention is rejected by the Islamic sharia, which also violates public order 3. The plaintiff used a foreign court, the French Court of Grenoble, to adjudicate her right to her change her data in official documents, rendering that court’s judgement null and void before the Algerian judiciary, since the plaintiff was born in Algeria. The changing of her original documents must be approved by a local court, which is also contrary to public order because it is legal cheating. Finally, the Court adopted the following articles: article 605/4 of the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure, which stipulates that the judgements of the Islamic courts must not be contrary to Algerian public morals until they are implemented, article 222 of the Family Code, which stipulates that the Islamic sharia must be used to determine the child’s sex if the child is born with a deformity or obscurity in their sex, and articles 49 to 57 of the Code of Civil Status relating to the procedure for registration and correction of Algerian births.

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