Law and religion round-up – 17th April

A week during which names seem to have been a recurring theme…

Are there limits to what a parent can name a child?

“Yes!” said the Court of Appeal, in a very complex judgment of which this is only a very brief taster. The twins in C (Children) [2016] EWCA Civ 374 “were said to have been conceived as a result of rape and there [was] no known respondent father” [4]. Their mother, who has a long-standing diagnosis of psychosis and schizophrenia [5], wanted to call the boy “Preacher” (which she described as “a strong spiritual name”) and the girl “Cyanide” (which she described as “a lovely pretty name”) [12].

The Court was having none of it and dismissed the appeal from the Family Court. King LJ concluded that this was “one of those rare cases where the court, in the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, should intervene to protect the girl twin from the emotional harm that I am satisfied she would suffer if called ‘Cyanide'” [109]. She concluded that, though there was nothing inherently objectionable about the name “Preacher”, “the girl twin’s welfare can only met by neither she nor her brother having the names chosen for them by their mother” [115]. And quite right too.

New Lord Justice Clerk

Lady Dorrian is to be the new Lord Justice Clerk in succession to Lord Carloway, who recently became Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session. Continue reading