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Lithuania / Supreme Administrative Court / A-2445-624/2017

R. G.-M. and J. B. v Migration Board of Vilnius County Chief Police Commissariat (Vilniaus apskrities vyriausiojo policijos komisariato Migracijos valdyba)

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Supreme Administrative Court
Decision date:

Key facts of the case: 

The applicants’ daughter was born in Lithuania and on her birth certificate, first Lithuanian passport and French passport her forename and surname were spelled in original, i.e. with non-Lithuanian symbols, such as “x” and “w”. The applicants requested to issue a new Lithuanian passport for their daughter keeping the original spelling of her forename and surname. The Migration Board refused to keep the original spelling and based its decision on the provisions of the Law on Identity Card and Passport, which state that information in the identity card and passport shall be spelled in Lithuanian characters („x“ and „w“ are not Lithuanian characters). The court of first instance quashed the decision of the Migration Board as disproportionate and discriminatory and ordered to issue a new passport with the forename and surname spelled in original. The Migration Board filed an appeal complaint.

Outcome of the case: 

The appellate court partly changed the decision of the first instance court, by ordering Migration Board to issue a Lithuanian passport to the applicants’ daughter spelling her name and last name in Lithuanian characters and at the same time spelling her name and last name in non-Lithuanian characters and non-grammatical form in other section for entries. The appellate court based its decision on the explanations of the Constitutional Court: “the legislature, upon stipulating that the name and family name of an individual are written in Lithuanian characters in the passport of a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania, also enjoys the discretion to stipulate that it is allowed to enter the name and family name of the individual in non-Lithuanian characters and in non-grammaticised form on other sections for entries of the passport, when the individual requests so.” Since such legal regulation does not exist the appellate court applied the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights to prove the neccessity to spell ones forename and surname in non-Lithuanian characters, refusal of which could cause serious inconvenience to those concerned at administrative, professional and private levels. If that is the case, it is a restriction on the freedoms conferred by Article 21 TFEU on every citizen of the Union.