Case L. v. Lithuania is still in its starting point after 15 years

October 16, 2023

On 19-21 September the meeting of vice-ministers of the Committee of Ministers discussed issues related to the enforcement of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The vice-ministers of the Committee of Ministers took note of the implementation of the L. v. Lithuania case and expressed their deep concern that, more than 15 years after the judgement was handed down, the legislative process regulating the conditions and procedures for gender reassignment surgery and legal recognition is still incomplete. Against this background, the Committee of Ministers called on the authorities to set a strict timetable for the completion of the legislative process and by December 1, 2023 to inform the Committee of any action taken and/or foreseen in the process of adopting legislative amendments in accordance with the set timetable.

During the last hearing of this case before the Committee of Ministers in June 2022 the Lithuanian authorities have expressed their intention to prepare the necessary legislative amendments for full implementation of this decision no later than the end of 2023. Unfortunately, with only a few months remaining before the end of 2023, there are still no clear or positive decisions on the implementation of the case.

The most recent submissions show that the objectives of the secondary legislation to increase the protection of the rights of transgender people in Lithuania have been achieved. However, the lack of progress in the legislative process on the key issue of the enforcement of this decision, i.e. the legislative gap governing the conditions and procedures for full gender reassignment surgery and legal recognition under Article 8 of the Convention, which governs the right to respect for private and family life, as well as the pactice, conditions, and procedures of the European Court of Justice, is a major concern. More than 15 years after the judgement and after several previous unsuccessful attempts, the process is still at an early starting point, with no timetable for future action and despite being part of the implementation plan of the current government’s programme since 2021. It is essential that the authorities complete their deliberations on the legislative solution, resume the legislative process and ensure that the necessary legislative amendments are registered and adopted by Parliament without delay.

The Committee of Ministers decided to resume the hearing of this case in the upcoming meeting on March 2024 and instructed the Secretariat to prepare a draft provisional resolution for consideration at that meeting if no tangible progress had been made by then. The slow and ineffective implementation of the ECtHR’s decision is unacceptable and it is regrettable that in fifteen years the legislators have not been able to establish a regulatory framework that protects the rights of transgender people in Lithuania.

Photo: Lisett Kruusimae I Pexels

The information was prepared in the framework of the project “Sustainable Support for Human Rights through Advocacy and Education” supported by the Active Citizens Foundation.