Restrictions on Children's Names?

Richard Jackson made this Freedom of Information request to General Register Office

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Richard Jackson

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am trying to find information on what restrictions exist in relation to names that may be given to child - whether certain names are not allowed, whether there is any restriction on length or characters, or any other restructions or rules that may exist.

I have, for example, found a recent news article from New Zealand that states that names there cannot be longer than 100 characters or cause offence to a reasonable person, but I am having difficulty if any such rules exist in the UK.

I am assuming that if such rules exist there would be, as well as any direct legislation on the matter (to which I would appreciate you directing me), leaflet, booklets or other information for parents explaining this, as well as policy guides and training materials for Registrars.

I would ask that you provide copies of any such materials, in electronic form whre possible, or, where any of these are already publicly available, details of how I may access them.

Thank you,

Richard

General Register Office

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General Section,

Dear Richard

Thank you for your e mail which has been passed to me for a response. I
apologise for the delay in getting back to you.

Registrations of births in England and Wales are made under the Births and
Deaths Registration Act 1953 and the Registration of Births and Deaths
Regulations 1987. The legislation does not set out any guidance on what
parents may name their child.

Our advice to registrars is that a name should consist of a sequence of
letters and that it should not be offensive.The reason for limiting the
registration of names to a sequence of letters is that a name which
includes a string of numbers or symbols etc. has no intrinsic sense of
being a name, however the suffix 'II' or 'III' would be allowed.

The only restriction on the length of a name is that it must be able to fit
in the space provided on the registration page.

There are no leaflets or booklets available giving guidance on this matter.
Where the registrar has any concerns over a name they will discuss this
with the parents and point out the problems the child may face as they grow
up and try to get them to reconsider their choice.

We have not had occasion to refuse to register a name.

I hope this is of help to you.

Andrew Vaughan
Births, Deaths and Adoptions Branch


request-1434-9c2c850e@whatdot
heyknow.com To: Certificate Services@ONS
cc:
25/07/2008 02:08 Subject: Freedom of Information request GQ - Restrictions
on Children's Names?

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am trying to find information on what restrictions exist in
relation to names that may be given to child - whether certain
names are not allowed, whether there is any restriction on length
or characters, or any other restructions or rules that may exist.

I have, for example, found a recent news article from New Zealand
that states that names there cannot be longer than 100 characters
or cause offence to a reasonable person, but I am having difficulty
if any such rules exist in the UK.

I am assuming that if such rules exist there would be, as well as
any direct legislation on the matter (to which I would appreciate
you directing me), leaflet, booklets or other information for
parents explaining this, as well as policy guides and training
materials for Registrars.

I would ask that you provide copies of any such materials, in
electronic form whre possible, or, where any of these are already
publicly available, details of how I may access them.

Thank you,

Richard

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