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Update on my case, and on exactly how much Girlguiding is spending of their money

(190 Posts)
KatieAlcock Fri 24-Jul-20 19:52:38

As a charity. On fighting a volunteer concerned about safeguarding who doesn't believe in inner gender essence.

The explanation is in the next post because it's long and tedious but the answer is "at least £35,000 and probably more like £100,000".

OP’s posts: |
KatieAlcock Fri 24-Jul-20 19:58:03


I wanted to update you on a hearing in my case that took place on Tuesday (21 July). Girlguiding had applied for it to deal with various things.

Firstly, they wanted to overturn the “stay” (a delay) of the hearing that the Judge had ordered because Maya Forstater’s case overlaps with mine and is being dealt with by a higher court. We asked for a stay of my case until Maya’s is dealt with, because otherwise we would have had two courts deciding a very similar issue at the same time, which would have caused confusion. The Court had previously agreed with us, and ordered the stay without needing a hearing. Girlguiding wanted this overturned so asked for a hearing for this to be considered.

Secondly, they wanted to overturn the permission I had been granted to amend my claim. When I put my claim form in, before I had any lawyers, I had mistakenly referred to one aspect of my claim as being direct discrimination, rather than (the correct) indirect discrimination. Clearly better that I DO have lawyers!

This was only on the form itself – in the pleadings itself (the description of the case, which my lawyers helped prepare) we made it clear it was indirect discrimination. Girlguiding have not had any obvious problem with this, and have lodged a defence to my indirect indiscrimination claim. We had therefore applied to correct the mistake on the claim form to substitute “indirect” for “direct”, which the Court had agreed on the papers, without a hearing. But Girlguiding wanted this overturned too, so needed a hearing for this to be considered.

Thirdly, Girlguiding wanted at this hearing to arrange for another hearing to be listed, to separately determine whether my belief in Gender Critical Feminism is Protected under the Equality Act 2020.

There were also some case management issues – which “track” to assign the case to (so, small claims, county court etc.). Each track has slightly different rules. My case is a bit unusual. I’m not claiming for much in the way of damages – Injury to Feelings awards, the way that discrimination damages are measured, are arranged in bands. I am seeking an award in the lowest band, of £5,000. But it is a legally complex case, because the belief that I am relying on has not been determined before. The question of which track to apply could have been dealt with on the papers, but as we were having a hearing, it was dealt with at the hearing.

The long and the short of it is that we got everything we wanted. The stay was allowed, so was the amendment, and there won’t be a separate hearing to discuss my beliefs separately from the facts of my expulsion from Girlguiding. All in all, a good day in court (obviously video court!). Huge thanks to my barrister Adam Ohringer for his work.

One of things that stood out for me was the way that Girlguiding is dealing with the case. I was represented on Monday by my barrister. To keep costs down, and because the matters were straightforward, my solicitor decided it wasn’t necessary for him to attend, so it was just Adam. Given how the hearing went, that decision was definitely the right one.

But facing my barrister, on behalf of Girlguiding on the other side were:

One QC (“silk”)
One non-QC barrister (but a pretty senior one – 29 years experience as a barrister and, I am told, extremely well-respected in her field)
Three more (!) lawyers or paralegals of one form or another from Girlguiding’s solicitors.

Before hearings like this, both sides have to send in a costs schedule – basically a spreadsheet which sets out the costs the lawyers are charging their clients, so that the successful party can have their costs paid by the losing party at the end of the hearing. Ours came to just over £6,000. The Court ordered Girlguiding to pay most of this - £4,800 - back to us to be used later in the case (I am told that the Court only rarely orders the full amount of costs to be paid – it’s part of the policy of dissuading people from going to court where it can be avoided and so easing the pressure on the Courts system).

In comparison to our costs of £6,000, Girlguiding’s cost schedule showed that they had incurred costs for preparing and attending the hearing of nearly £33,000! Added to the amount they have to pay back for my costs, this means that the three hour hearing on Tuesday cost Girlguiding over £40,000, for which they got – well, nothing really.

But that’s not all. Girlguiding’s lawyers also submitted costs schedules for the work they have done on various other bits of the case up to now. This shows that they already spent £45,057.56 (not including the £4,800 they now need to repay to me) just on various procedural applications and the short hearing on Tuesday. As well as paying for drafting their defence, they may have spent nearly £100,000 so far, and we’ve not even really started yet.

If I lose – and I might, this is complicated law, and nothing is certain – I could be liable for their costs. Not for the £33,000 they would have claimed for Tuesday’s hearing if they’d won – that’s gone now, thankfully, because they got nothing they were asking for. But if they carry on like this, it’s likely that costs will continue to rack up on their side as the case progresses.

The pressure of taking on such a big organisation by myself is quite daunting, so I am incredibly grateful for all the support that I have received. Thank you all, it means the world.

But we’re not done yet, and I haven’t yet achieved the level of funding which means I will definitely be able to see this through.

But for now, everything is on ice pending the outcome of Maya’s appeal. Crossing everything for her Appeal Tribunal!


OP’s posts: |
TrollTheRespawnJeremy Fri 24-Jul-20 20:01:27

Do you have a gofundme or similar?

HoneysuckIejasmine Fri 24-Jul-20 20:06:24

Gee, is this what census is going towards?!

gardenbird48 Fri 24-Jul-20 20:09:53

Thank you for that Katie, my mind is boggling at the behaviour of this organisation - as with so many of the ‘captured’ orgs - it feels like the people have lost their power of rational thinking and even humanity as they can’t even see the ‘other side’, let alone empathise. I donated to your campaign previously and will now donate again as this is so important to all of us. Thank you for your efforts.

SoftlySoftly123 Fri 24-Jul-20 20:10:09

I'm appalled by this and as a once-Young Leader it puts me off from volunteering as an adult leader. What a waste of charity money.

PaperTed Fri 24-Jul-20 20:12:03

Wouldn’t worry too much, the Taxing Master will see through tactics like that.

The Board of Trustees have obviously signed off on such sums; shows you what they think of their donors/financial supporters doesn’t it?

I would be interested in looking at the donations figures after this kind of spending becomes known to the general public.

I fully expect you will win the case.

Notthisnotthat Fri 24-Jul-20 20:20:42

My daughter is currently in guiding and I was a guider 20 years ago. I'm shocked that they are spending this amount.

Is there a crowdfunder for help raising money for your costs?

BernardBlackMissesLangCleg Fri 24-Jul-20 20:23:09

good grief, girl guiding just continue to loose their minds don't they?

thank you for taking this risk Katie and for standing up to this nonsense. I'll donate again when I get paid next week.

As an ex guide and ranger guide who got so much from girl guiding, it feels right to contribute to trying to keep guiding safe and empowering for girls.

DialSquare Fri 24-Jul-20 20:23:27

Thanks for the update Katie. I'll go and dig again.

Saxa23 Fri 24-Jul-20 20:24:56


Gee, is this what census is going towards?!

Like no.

Like I said on another thread, OP insinuating such is just damaging to the girls, volunteers and staff who have nothing to do with Girlguiding’s policy making.

OP if you want support, you can’t go about spouting things you don’t actually know.

hellotoday27 Fri 24-Jul-20 20:27:56

I'm shocked at the costs. As a leader I know full well how much money is taken out of our subs for central office. It's shocking that it is being used for this. I can see them charging full price for subs next year despite most of guiding not running and us not having money coming in. I shall be mightily pissed off if they waste money like this and still charge us.

ScrimpshawTheSecond Fri 24-Jul-20 20:28:00

What a silly waste of money.

Highfalutinlootin Fri 24-Jul-20 20:33:01

I think I saw and donated to your original crowd fund. Please set up another one so we can continue to support! Yours and Allison Bailey's are incredibly important cases for women's rights.

Saxa23 Fri 24-Jul-20 20:33:26


I'm shocked at the costs. As a leader I know full well how much money is taken out of our subs for central office. It's shocking that it is being used for this. I can see them charging full price for subs next year despite most of guiding not running and us not having money coming in. I shall be mightily pissed off if they waste money like this and still charge us.

They don’t use your subs on legal costs.


HoneysuckIejasmine Fri 24-Jul-20 20:45:33

How is it funded then, *Saxa"? GGUK is a charity so it's funded by donations and grants etc. Either way, money meant for guiding activities is being spent on legal fees. Even money they put towards insurances which cover legal fees are supposed to be for things like liability to allow the org to run. Not to rack up excessive fees in cases like this.

happydappy2 Fri 24-Jul-20 20:49:35

katiealcock well done, sounds positive for you-do you need more money right now, or does it depend on Mayas case?

Going to court when the stakes are high & outcomes unproven is incredibly stressful-well done you for continuing with this. Is shocking GG are willing to spend so much money, to try and silence someone raising valid concerns about safeguarding young girls.

StrictlyAFemaleFemale Fri 24-Jul-20 20:52:30

Was gguk for nearly 20 yrs. Now active in my adopted country. I really hope you win this.

tilder Fri 24-Jul-20 20:55:55

It might not come directly from subs. But it comes from somewhere. Someone raised the funds at some point. Or it was donated. For the good of girl guiding.

I don't imagine this was how those who raised or donated the money expected it to be spent.

Or is there some hitherto unknown or untapped source of money held by the charitable body that is girl guides 33Saxa?

IsAnybodyListening Fri 24-Jul-20 21:00:04

Thank you Katie for doing this. Sincerely.

From a different, but also unfortunate honest perspective. Going to these groups was a life-line to me as a child. I was abused by a family friend, and fearful of male figures. I never told. One of the only times I felt 'OK' was the Thursday meetings. Wearing my uniform, feeling like I belonged. I still to this day (I'm 38 now) remember getting a badge one evening, and having a chip shop dinner at the club. And I felt safe, even though my home life wasn't. I know if boys had been there. I would not have gone back at the time. I was a child and felt vulnerable.

And this is the crux now isn't it? A saddening reality that little girls need a safe place that is theirs to be fought for in court. The majority won't need a safe place in the same way I did. But some will.

Canyousewcushions Fri 24-Jul-20 21:02:55

I think there is a crowd justice page-not sure if we're allowed to link to raising pages but Google should find it quickly.

TheBigBad Fri 24-Jul-20 21:10:32

From a fellow traveller on the important feminist court challenge road, my solidarity to you. It's a very difficult kind of stress to manage and I do not underestimate the strength you need to stand. At least we have anonymity, you are standing openly with your name out there.

SisterWendyBuckett Fri 24-Jul-20 21:10:47

You're amazing Katie. Thank you for having the courage to to do this - for all of us 💐

MindTheMinotaur Fri 24-Jul-20 21:18:48

Thanks Katie, should it be needed I will dig again. I've mentioned this before, I was molested on Guide camp by the husband of a leader. He was involved in a range of youth organisations. Girl Guides can't investigate because I can't give his first name or other details. I've given them the guide pack, the dates etc, but in the past we didn't use first names for our leaders.

RufustheRowlingReindeer Fri 24-Jul-20 21:19:00

Other threads gone

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