COBALT successfully represented the Client in a landmark case regarding the right to include non-Lithuanian diacritical marks in the surname

2021 - 10 - 13

COBALT successfully represented the Client in the Supreme Court asking to register her surname with a non-Lithuanian diacritical mark.

The dispute arose between the Client and the municipal Civil Registry Office and the Centre of Registers when after the marriage the Client’s surname was registered with a Lithuanian letter “č” instead of a “ć“ as it was in her husband‘s surname. Both the Client and her husband are the citizens of the EU.

After an in-person hearing, the Supreme Court of Lithuania held that lack of technical abilities is not a legitimate ground to justify the restrictions of the freedom of movement as the applicant and her husband are both the citizens of the EU. The courts that analysed the case decided that the refusal to register the surname of the Client identically as her husband’s resulting in different surnames causes administrative, personal and professional discomforts and may cause in significant negative consequences while establishing family ties. The courts also held that spelling the Client’s surname without a non-Lithuanian letter would be disproportionate to the discomforts she may suffer while living abroad and the usage of a non-Lithuanian diacritical mark would not create such an impact on Lithuanian language that it may be considered as a breach of a public interest, especially in the light that a number of diacriticals are being used in Lithuanian language as well.

COBALT is happy that this decision creates a precedent based on the fundamental values of modern Lithuanian law as a part of the European realm, protecting human honour and dignity, personal identity, family privacy, freedom of movement.

COBALT team consisted of Partner Rimantas Simaitis, Senior Associate Milda Markevičiūtė and Assistant Lawyer Martynas Dovydauskis.


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