You Name it: On the Cross-Border Regulation of Names
Forthcoming: American Journal of Comparative Law
Posted: 5 Aug 2019 Last revised: 22 Aug 2019
Date Written: March 4, 2019
Is your name “yours”? Are you free to choose a name for yourself? Does a name withstand border-crossing and even acquisition of new citizenships? In the common law world, the undoubted answer is yes. However, in civil law, this answer is not so clear. While the global tendency over the last few decades has been towards relaxing the norms governing names, old traditions die hard, and in some cases now re-emerge in other parts of the world. In an ever more globalized world, given widespread immigration, refugees, and people with dual- (or even multi-) citizenships, the different national attitudes towards names and the lack of proper cross-border regulation of names is becoming a relevant and pressing question. This paper maps out and conceptualizes the challenge of names by demonstrating the different approaches towards names and suggesting possible cross-border regulation (i.e., choice-of-law rules) that may address this issue for the benefit of the individuals and countries involved.
Keywords: Names, Choice of Law, Comparative Law, Law and Social Change, Autonomy
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