JERSEY parents could have their babies’ names rejected if they might cause ‘mistake, confusion or embarrassment to the child’ in the future.
As part of recent legal amendments, the Island’s Superintendent Registrar will be able to refuse to register a child’s name. The government says this complies with their commitment to put children first as well as meeting obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The change – which came into effect on 24 March – brings the Island into line with similar laws in other jurisdictions, such as Sweden and New Zealand.
The UK has no law restricting names but those that contain obscenities, numerals and misleading titles, or are impossible to pronounce, are likely to be rejected when registering a child.
There are no restrictions on adults assuming any new name, unless the purpose of the name change is fraudulent.
Some countries have stricter naming laws, such as in Iceland, Denmark and Hungary, where a child’s name must be chosen from a list of pre-approved names. If the intended name is not on the list, the parents need to apply for an exception to be approved.
In St Malo, a couple hit the headlines after being banned from naming their newborn baby Hades after the ancient Greek god of the dead and king of the underworld.
According to the Daily Mail, Kristina Desgres and Rodrigo Velasquez chose it as they thought it was ‘pretty’, but the St Malo public prosecutor refused to accept the name.
French authorities can veto a name if it is not in the child’s best interest and demand that parents change it, and, in this case, the public prosecutor deemed the name Hades inappropriate for a child.
Despite the decision, Ms Desgres and Mr Velasquez have hired a lawyer in an attempt to keep their baby’s name, pointing out that there had been at least 12 other French parents who had successfully named their children Hades without any objection.