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CJEU Case C-208/09 / Judgment

Ilonka Sayn-Wittgenstein v Landeshauptmann von Wien

Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Second Chamber)
Decision date:
Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling: Verwaltungsgerichtshof - Austria.
European citizenship - Freedom to move and reside in the Member States - Law of a Member State with constitutional status abolishing the nobility in that State - Surname of an adult, a national of that State, obtained by adoption in another Member State, in which that adult resides - Title of nobility and nobiliary particle forming part of the surname - Registration by the authorities of the first Member State in the register of civil status - Correction of the entry by the authorities on their own initiative - Removal of the title of nobility and nobiliary particle.
Outcome of the case:


On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby rules:

Article 21 TFEU must be interpreted as not precluding the authorities of a Member State, in circumstances such as those in the main proceedings, from refusing to recognise all the elements of the surname of a national of that State, as determined in another Member State – in which that national resides – at the time of his or her adoption as an adult by a national of that other Member State, where that surname includes a title of nobility which is not permitted in the first Member State under its constitutional law, provided that the measures adopted by those authorities in that context are justified on public policy grounds, that is to say, they are necessary for the protection of the interests which they are intended to secure and are proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.