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Latvia / Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court / SKA – 184/2012 (not published)

Raihmans v Latvia

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court
Decision date:

Key facts of the case:

The Supreme Court stayed proceedings and asked the Constitutional Court whether views of the HRC in the case Raihmans v. Latvia finding violation of Article 17 of the ICCPR (change in spelling of a surname) necessitated change in the jurisprudence. The Constitutional Court provided negative answer. The Supreme Court clarified that the existing system of writing foreign names in Latvian complies with the Constitution and international standards, however, there might potentially happen a violation in exceptional cases when the spelling of a name has created “sufficiently serious difficulties” or a name has acquired “unpleasant meaning”. The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs registered a child born to a Latvian and a Portuguese citizen as the Latvian citizen and registered his name in accordance with the regulations on spelling of names as Rikardu Daniels Baranovs-Kardozu. The parents requested the court to order spelling of the name as Ricardo Daniel Baranov Cardoso. All three court instances: Administrative district court, Administrative regional court and the Supreme Court dismissed the claim.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

The Supreme Court dismissed the application because: 1) the spelling of the name did not violate the right to private life under Article 96 of the Latvian Constitution and Article 8 of the ECHR, and 2) it did not violate freedom of movement under Article 21 of the TEU. The Supreme Court did not find the arguments provided by the applicants weighty enough to make this case exception from the general practice in the private life context, nor that the applicants demonstrated “serious inconvenience” in the context of the freedom of movement. The claim was dismissed and the judgment of the Administrative regional court remained in force. The name of the child was spelt Rikardu Daniels Baranovs-Kardozu in accordance with the Latvian regulations. The Supreme Court also dismissed the request of the applicants to ask for a preliminary ruling from CJEU with an argument that the case-law of the CJEU in the present question is clear.