Right to a name: cross-border family-legal aspects of implementation

Available in Russian

Price 150 rub.

Author: Elena Voytovich

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2021-1-43-56

Keywords: conflict of laws; European Court of Human Rights; European Court of Justice; name; surname


The increase of cross-border contacts of individuals has shifted the emphasis in modern studies of the right to a name in Civil and Family law to Human rights and Private International Law. The article examines the problems of cross-border implementation of the right of an individual to a name, which are a consequence of state control over the circulation of names, as well as conflicts of national laws. The author offers to get acquainted with the practice of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of the European Union, which serves as an illustration of the peculiarities of the implementation of the right to a surname in the context of convergence of legal systems. The proposed court decisions demonstrate new approaches to protecting the right of an individual to a surname and open the way to the formation of an internally consistent, coherent system of rules governing the right to a name. The article analyzes the international private legal aspects of the implementation of the right to a surname; special attention is paid to the conflicting principles of determining the law to be applied. The author concludes that domestic practice of assigning surnames should seek to achieve legal certainty. Such practice should not interfere with the exercise of the right to respect for private and family life, freedom of movement and choice of place of residence, or discriminate. Taking into account the results of international justice, national rules on names, conflict of laws norms require revision and updating. The consistent application of lex personalis in determining the applicable law can lead to situations in which the identity of the individual will be in doubt. The solution to this problem is seen not only in improving conflict of laws approaches, but also in the mechanism of recognition of foreign administrative acts. The implementation of this proposal will eliminate lame relationships, ensure legal certainty and stability of the person’s status. The author also proposes to distinguish between conflict of laws rules governing family status and conflict of laws rules governing civil status of an individual.

About the author: Elena Voytovich – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Siberian Institute of Management – Branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Novosibirsk, Russia.

Citation: Voytovich E. (2021) Pravo na imya: transgranichnye semeyno-pravovye aspekty realizatsii [Right to a name: cross-border family-legal aspects of implementation]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.11, no.1, pp.43–56. (In Russian).


Deskoski T., Dokovski V. (2016) Whose Family Name upon Birth and Marriage? Macedonian and European PIL Perspectives. In: Živković M. (ed.) Personal Name in Internal Law and Private International Law: Proceedings of the 4th Balkan Conference, 14 April 2016, Faculty of Law, University of Niš, pp.33–45. Available at: http://www.prafak.ni.ac.rs/files/centar_pub/ZBORNIK-MPP_2016-maj-2018.pdf (accessed: 30.10.2020).

Dmitrieva G.K., Mazhorina M.V. (eds.) (2016) Unifikatsiya i garmonizatsiya v mezhdunarodnom chastnom prave. Voprosy teorii i praktiki [Unification and harmonization in private international law. Questions of theory and practice], Moscow: NORMA: INFRA-M. (In Russian).

Kroll-Ludwigs K. (2017) Names of Individuals. In: Basedow J., Rühl G., Ferrari F., Asensio P. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Private International Law. Vol.2, Cheltenham, UK; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp.1282–1289.

Lehmann M. (2008) What’s in a Name? Grunkin-Paul and Beyond. In: Bonomi A., Volken P. (eds.) Yearbook of Private International Law, vol.10, München: Sellier. European Law Publishers, pp.135–164.

Levitskaya Е.A. (2017) Problemy sootnosheniya mezhdunarodnykh standartov v sfere okhrany lich­noy i semeinoy zhizni s publichnym pravom Rossii [Issues of correlation between international standards in personal and family life protection and Russian public law]. Mezhdunarodnoe publich­noe i chastnoe pravo, no.6, pp.32–35. (In Russian).

Маl'tsev G.V. (2003) Problema chastnogo i publichnogo prava [Problem of private and public law]. Sotsiologiya vlasti, no.3, pp.20–46. (In Russian).

Novikova N.A. (2017) Pravo na imya: transgranichnyy aspect [Right to a name: cross-border aspect]. In: Golubtsov V.G., Kuznetsova O.A. (eds.) Sed'moy Permskiy kongress uchyonykh-yuristov (g.Perm', 18–19 noyabrya 2016 g.): sbornik nauchnykh statey [Proceedings of the 7th Perm Congress, 18–19 November 2016, Perm], Moscow: Statut, pp.280–286. Available at: http://permcongress.com/content/statut-2017.pdf (accessed: 30.10.2020). (In Russian).

Tarman Z., Başoğlu B. (2016) Surname and the Law Applicable to Surname under Turkish Law. In:  Živković M. (ed.) Personal Name in Internal Law and Private International Law: Proceedings of the 4th Balkan Conference, 14 April 2016, Faculty of Law, University of Niš, pp.47–70. Available at: http://www.prafak.ni.ac.rs/files/centar_pub/ZBORNIK-MPP_2016-maj-2018.pdf (accessed: 30.10.2020).

Tuba I. (2020) The role of the European court of human rights in changing gender norms in Turkey: the case of women’s maiden names. Turkish Studies, vol.21, no.4, pp.524–556.

Ul'bashev А.Kh. (2019) Obshchee uchenie o lichnykh pravakh [General doctrine of personal rights], Мoscow: Statut. (In Russian).

Varennes F., Kuzborska Е. (2015) Human Rights and a Person’s Name: Legal Trends and Challenges. Human Rights Quarterly, vol.37, pp.977–1023.

Vrellis S. (2016) Garcia Avello: 13 Years after Pretext and Arbitrariness. In:  Živković M. (ed.) Personal Name in Internal Law and Private International Law: Proceedings of the 4th Balkan Conference, 14 April 2016, Faculty of Law, University of Niš, pp.7–19. Available at: http://www.prafak.ni.ac.rs/files/centar_pub/ZBORNIK-MPP_2016-maj-2018.pdf (accessed: 30.10.2020).

Walkowiak J. (2016) Personal Name Policy: From Theory to Practice, Poznań: Wydział Neofilologii UAM w Poznaniu.