What’s in a name?

A small but important practice point. I remember drafting lectures on the BVC, and being told that precision was really important. It never hurts to remind ourselves of that, even when working in so-called “woolly” or “law free” areas like children.

Care must be taken about accurately recording the FULL name of all children named in s8 orders, including middle names. It’s no big deal for most purposes, but it can come back and bite a resident parent who later needs to obtain a passport for a child whose name does not match that on the birth certificate. Care must be taken to name both parents in any residence order.

Imagine, the situation. Resident parent not named. Child’s middle name omitted. The applicant for the passport purports to be the resident parent of the child named in the order, but presents a birth certificate that does not match the order. Result? No passport. No holiday.

Easy enough to correct under the slip rule if you spot it in time AND have the consent of the other parent. But not so easy if you realise the problem not long before your holiday date or can’t afford the issue fee that the court would no doubt wish to charge.

The moral of the story must be always to put in full names of children and the names of Mum and Dad to avoid difficulties at the Passport Office. We were all taught this as pupils and trainees – it really does matter.

Perhaps this is something that might be incorporated into Mostyn J’s templates project? This is not hypothetical. I am writing about it because I know this scenario has arisen – it may no doubt arise more in future as there are more litigants in person, so whilst I am no fan of standardisation perhaps this is one situation where it would be helpful.

4 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. I prefer checklists to templates. The name of the child and the name of the judge appears far too many times in the CMO.

  2. Names are I think very important, not only for the reason stated above but because your name is a vital part of your identity.
    This may seem like a little thing but it can have a profound impact on a child’s wellbeing and sense of belonging and security.

  3. Robert Whiston

    Britain is luckier than other states in Europe when it comes to names and especially surnames. In Belguim they are presently discussing giving children a choice of up to 4 surnames and in one report a choice of 10 is said to be possible. Contrast that with the UK.
    Other states allow one parent to change the surname, e.g. an Austrian woman marries a Greek man and their children take his surname. The adults then divorce and the wife moves the children back to Austria. She then changes her and the children’s surname. They then become impossible to trace (Hague Convention).

  4. […] A small but important practice point. I remember drafting lectures on the BVC, and being told that precision was really important. It never hurts to remind ourselves of that, even when working in s…  […]

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