Posted on Monday July 31, 2017
A mother has won a legal battle to have her child’s middle name changed after protesting that it was the same as an “infamous” public figure.
The mother said the name has negative connotations and would therefore harm the child.
However, the father objected to changing the name, arguing that it was an essential part of the child’s identity.
Neither the parents nor child were named for privacy reasons.
The Family Court ruled in the mother’s favour last year, but the father was granted right to appeal. In a separate hearing in May, the father told District Judge Cooper that he would only use the child’s first name and would not refer to the middle name in any correspondence.
Agreeing that the name would damage the child’s emotional welfare, the Appeal Court upheld the order.
“At birth the child was given two forenames by the parents and registered with both. The child is most commonly known by the first name but the father uses both and says he favours the middle name,” said the Judge.
“The middle name is a normal well established name. It is not eccentric or in itself offensive. However, the mother’s case was that, as a result of its association with a notorious public figure, it is infected with bad connotations.”
He added that the ruling does not prohibit the use of the name, nor is it an injunction against the father to prevent him so addressing the child.
“Had that been considered, the obvious difficulties over policing and enforcement would have come to light. How would the communications between the child and the father (both oral and in writing) be monitored and, in any event, would any devisable method of monitoring be healthy or in the interests of the child?” he concluded.