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Abstract

This chapter addresses the relation between law and identity. It provides a comprehensive analysis of law’s understanding of the concept of the person across different legal domains—from criminal and contract law to medical-decision making and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) jurisprudence. The first part of the analysis addresses the significance of identity by reference to the case law across these domains. It then identifies law’s problem with identity. The central issue is what counts (or should count) as the core of identity versus its attributes. The chapter ties in with recent literature on the numerical-qualitative identity distinction, presenting judicial views that question the sharpness of this distinction. Overall, the chapter makes clear that the question of identity, what it means and should mean, is highly relevant in law and not merely of abstract, metaphysical interest.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Bently (2010).

  2. 2.

    Moore (1985).

  3. 3.

    Tobia (2022), p. 2.

  4. 4.

    Gomez-Lavin and Prinz (2019).

  5. 5.

    Tobia (2022), p. 2.

  6. 6.

    Marshall (2014), pp. 8–9.

  7. 7.

    Goodwin v UK (2002) 35 EHRR 18 [90]; I v UK [2002] 2 FLR 518 [70]; Mikulić v. Croatia, no. 53176/99, § 54, ECHR 2002-I.

  8. 8.

    Goodwin, ibid, in which the applicant sought legal recognition of her post-operative sex or gender identity.

  9. 9.

    Marshall (2014), p. 36.

  10. 10.

    For example, Articles 7 and 8 of the Convention on the Rights of The Child (CRC) 1989. The right to identity is broadly conceived, including a name, birth registration, nationality, and family relations. Continuity in ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background is provided for under Article 20 CRC. The leading cases are Mennesson v France, App. No 65192/11; Labassée v. France, App. No 65941/11.

  11. 11.

    I (n 7).

  12. 12.

    Ibid [81].

  13. 13.

    Ibid [61]. See also Mikulić (n 7).

  14. 14.

    For example, St George’s Healthcare National Health Service Trust v S [1998] 2 WLR 936.

  15. 15.

    (2002) 35 EHRR 1.

  16. 16.

    Application no. 2346/02, Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights, 29 April 2002, available at: https://www.refworld.org/cases,ECHR,4dae1682.html [65].

  17. 17.

    For example, Ms B v An NHS Hospital Trust [2002] 2 All ER 449.

  18. 18.

    Hope (1994). See also Tan et al. (2003), p. 534.

  19. 19.

    See, for example, Tan et al. (2003); Winston (2005); McAdams and Krawczyk (2014).

  20. 20.

    Coggon (2013), p. 123.

  21. 21.

    [2012] EWHC 1639 (COP) [2012] HRLR 29.

  22. 22.

    Per the Mental Capacity Act 2005, s 4(6).

  23. 23.

    E (n 21) [78]. Emphasis added.

  24. 24.

    Tan et al. (2003), p. 535.

  25. 25.

    Ibid, p. 535.

  26. 26.

    Unger (1990).

  27. 27.

    Hitlin (2003); See also Hitlin (2011).

  28. 28.

    Gergen in McGarty and Haslam (1996).

  29. 29.

    Oshana (2010), p. 20.

  30. 30.

    [2018] EWHC 3508 (QB).

  31. 31.

    [1888] 22 QBD 23.

  32. 32.

    Monica (n 30) [82].

  33. 33.

    Ibid, [52].

  34. 34.

    [2019] EWCA Crim 557, [2019] QB 1063.

  35. 35.

    Ibid. [31].

  36. 36.

    Bently (2010), p. 52.

  37. 37.

    [1972] 1 QB 198.

  38. 38.

    Cundy v Lindsay (1878) 3 app cas 459.

  39. 39.

    (1897) 14 TLR 98.

  40. 40.

    [1995] 2 CAR 49.

  41. 41.

    King’s Norton (n 39).

  42. 42.

    That a contract is void not voidable in mistake as to identity was explicitly confirmed in Shogun Finance Ltd v Hudson [2003] UKHL 62 [48] (Lord Hobhouse for the Majority).

  43. 43.

    Averay (n 37) (Lord Denning).

  44. 44.

    Shogun (no 42) [59] (Lord Millett).

  45. 45.

    Averay (n 37).

  46. 46.

    Ibid.

  47. 47.

    Moore (1985), p. 11.

  48. 48.

    Shogun (n 42) (Lord Nicholls). See also Moore (ibid) for scepticism.

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Appendices

Cases

  • Mennesson v France, App. No 65192/11

  • Labassée v. France, App. No 65941/11

  • King’s Norton Metal Co v Edridge Merrett & Co (1897) 14 TLR 98

  • Cundy v Lindsay (1878) 3 app cas 459

  • Lewis v Averay [1972] 1 QB 198

  • R v Linekar [1995] 2 CAR 49

  • Shogun Finance Ltd v Hudson [2003] UKHL 62

  • Goodwin v UK (2002) 35 EHRR 18

  • I v UK [2002] 2 FLR 518

  • Mikulić v Croatia, no. 53176/99, § 54, ECHR 2002-I

  • Pretty v United Kingdom (2002) 35 EHRR 1

  • R v Clarence [1888] 22 QBD 23

  • R (Monica) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2018] EWHC 3508 (QB)

  • St George’s Healthcare National Health Service Trust v S [1998] 2 WLR 936

  • Ms. B v An NHS Hospital Trust [2002] 2 All ER 449

  • A Local Authority v E [2012] EWHC 1639 (COP) [2012] HRLR 29

  • Re E (Medical Treatment: Anorexia) [2012] EWHC 1639 (COP), [2012] MHLO 55

  • R v Melin [2019] EWCA Crim 557, [2019] QB 1063

Legislation

  • Sexual Offences Act 2003, s. 76(2)(b)

  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005, s 4(6)

  • Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

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Farah, R. (2023). Persons and the Law. In: Rereading Identity Deception in the UK Sexual Offences Act 2003. SpringerBriefs in Law. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-44475-3_2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-44475-3_2

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