The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) has once again detected the hypocrisy of contradictory legal acts and practices which concern the original spelling of names and surnames in official documents. Today dozens, if not thousands of Lithuanian citizens struggle with the problem of name spelling.

News


The final verdict – letter ‘w’ in identity card

The final verdict – letter ‘w’ in identity card

posted on March 07, 2017
Today the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania issued final and not debatable rule on the inscription of the letter ‘w’ in Lithuanian passport and identity card in the case of Wardyn. The surname of Wardyn is well known as one of the first families who started to fight for the original spelling of proper names a decade ago. On 7 November, 2016 the District Court of Vilnius Region issued a decision in which obliged the Civil Registrar’s Office to issue a new marriage certificate with the letter ‘w’ in the surname of Lithuanian woman of Polish descent who married Polish citizen....
Juridical nihilism continues - ‘x’ in documents issued by Lithuania

Juridical nihilism continues – ‘x’ in documents issued by Lithuania

posted on March 03, 2017
This week the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania issued two final rules on the spelling of proper names – in the cases of Jacquet and Mickiewicz the court obliged to incorporate in children’s passports their proper names in Lithuanian as well as in original language. This court’s decision created an ambiguous situation – the inscription in original language is not questioned by Population Register, however, in Lithuanian passport it is obliged to incorporate and formally adopt the artificially made Lithuanian form, i.e., institutions view in the Register and birth certificate...
Kaunas Regional Administrative Court said “yes” for “w”

Kaunas Regional Administrative Court said “yes” for “w”

posted on February 23, 2017
On 23 February 2017 the Kaunas Regional Administrative Court referred to the case of the refusal to issue children with Lithuanian passports with the letter “w” in the Migration Office. The court ruled that Lithunian passports with the surname “Wade” must be issued to juveniles. The court acknowledged that petitioner’s family faces many problems. Documents indicate that petitioner’s family is identified on the basis of the original spelling of the surname “Wade”. Children are citizens of the United Kingdom and have English passports. The family frequently travels across the EU...
New achievement in the case of proper names spelling

New achievement in the case of proper names spelling

posted on February 18, 2017
On 3 February, 2017 the district court of Kaišiadoriai obligated the Civil Registry office (municipality’s administration) of the area of Kaišiadoriai to issue a new marriage certificate which includes the letter ‘w’. During the analysis of the case, the court considered the clarifying of the Court of Justice of the European Union and factual circumstances which involve translation. In the analysis of the current case it was identified that the petitioner had a marriage with the citizen of the Republic of Poland, A.O., and chose her husband’s surname. In the marriage certificate...
Courts continue to settle the issue of the spelling of the names – two won cases

Courts continue to settle the issue of the spelling of the names – two won cases

posted on December 27, 2016
DELFI (T.Vinicko nuotr.) On November 22nd, The Vilnius City District Court adopted a decision concerning the complaint of a Lithuanian citizen. The court obliged the Registry Office in Vilnius to spell her daughter’s name using the letter “w” and to issue a new birth certificate. The court acknowledged that the family lives currently in Dubai. While registering the child’s birth,  the Registry Office spelled the name “Darbovli” and refused to use original spelling. In this case, the refusal to register the original name and to issue a new birth certificate with the name...
The Court determined: the diverse spelling of surnames causes inconveniences

The Court determined: the diverse spelling of surnames causes inconveniences

posted on November 07, 2016
On 7 November 2016, the District Court of Vilnius City passed the judgement in the case of ‘Wardyn’. The Court obliged the Civil Registry Office to issue a new Marriage Certificate entering ‘w’ into the surname of the Lithuanian of Polish nationality, who has got married with the citizen of Poland. While the passing the judgement, the Court considered the explanations of the European Court of Human Rights and assessed the actual circumstances. The Court stated that ‘The applicants are of the Polish nationality, clearly identify themselves with the Polish nationality, has obtained...
The fight for original spelling of names and surnames does not stop – how much additional judgments shall be passed until the adoption of appropriate law?

The fight for original spelling of names and surnames does not stop – how much additional judgments shall be passed until the adoption of appropriate law?

posted on October 20, 2016
European Foundation of Human Rights’ already in July 2016 noticed that there were won eight cases related to entry of the letters ‘w’ and ‘x’ into the documents issued for the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania. This time, two other courts passed particularly significant judgements in the fight for protection of the right of respect for private life and free movement of persons. On 12 October 2016, the The District Court of Varėna Region passed the judgement in the case of ‘Bobrowski’ obliging the Civil Registry Office of Varena Region to entry the surname of the citizen of...
Courts' challange to the newly elected Seimas – 'x' and 'w'

Courts’ challange to the newly elected Seimas – ‘x’ and ‘w’

posted on October 11, 2016
On 10 October 2016, the Vilnius Courts posed challenge to the newly elected Seimas repeatedly acknowledging the right to privacy, free movement of persons and original spelling of names and surnames. Upon the hearing the case of the great-great grandson of Adam Mickiewicz, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court decided to annul the decision of the Migration Board to refuse the issuing the passport for the minor Alexia Gorecki-Mickiewicz and obliged to issue a new one following the original spelling of her name and surname. Alexia has been already living in Lithuania for eleven years and...
Court’s decision: “w” is to be written in the Lithuanian’s passport

Court’s decision: “w” is to be written in the Lithuanian’s passport

posted on July 04, 2016
On 4th July 2016 the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court adopted the definitive ruling regarding the original spelling of first and last names. The court obliged the Migration Board to write the letter “w” in the citizen’s of the Republic of Lithuania (RL) passport. The court stated, “The decision of the Migration Board in which it refused to accept the official request for the issuance (change) of the ID card in the “Pauwels” name is unlawful and unjustified, as, pursuant to the new marriage certificate that has been issued, the petitioner’s surname has been changed from...
One More Victory Regarding Original Spelling of First and Last Names

One More Victory Regarding Original Spelling of First and Last Names

posted on July 01, 2016
On 1st July the Vilnius City District Court adopted a ruling in which it obliged the Registry Office to issue a new marriage certificate with the surname “Weston” written with the original “w” for a Lithuanian woman who married a citizen of New Zealand. It is the fifth won court case already concerning the written form of the letter “w” in the surname in which the Vilnius City District Court adopts the consistent approach, highlighting that the refusal of writing the letter “w” would cause administrative, personal, and professional nuisances to the petitioner, forcing her to...
Another win. Courts agree — ”w” has the right to exist

Another win. Courts agree — ”w” has the right to exist

posted on June 22, 2016
On 22nd June 2016 Vilnius City District Court issued a ruling which obliges the Registry Office to change the spelling of surname of Lithuanian resident with Polish nationality to its original form — from ”Vardyn” to ”Wardyn” — and issue a new birth certificate. This is the second case won by the Wardyn family — 12 April 2016 Vilnius City District Court obliged the Registery Office to write ”w” in the surname of the first Wardyn family child — son Michał. More about son’s win here. The Court decided that ”current legal regulations do not allow to sufficiently meet...
'The Spelling of Names and Surnames – Challenges and Decisions' Conference

‘The Spelling of Names and Surnames – Challenges and Decisions’ Conference

posted on May 06, 2016
On the 13th of May in the Council Chamber of the City of Vilnius’ local government, the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is organizing a conference titled “The Spelling of Names and Surnames – Challenges and Decisions.” The aim of the conference is to provide an overview of Lithuanian law in regard to the spelling of names and surnames, as well as the latest court practice (with a focus on the “Pauwels” and “Wardyn” cases). Possible solutions will also form part of the discussion. During previous parliamentary sessions, Members of Parliament have failed to reach...
"W" does not pose a threat to the Lithuanian language

“W” does not pose a threat to the Lithuanian language

posted on April 14, 2016
The District Court of Vilnius has delivered a landmark ruling regarding the spelling of last names. For the first time the Court has bound the Vilnius registry office to include the letter ‘w’ in the civil status records of a child. At the same time there is a third judgement confirming that the rights of an individual need to be respected in Lithuania. More about the ruling adopted last year on the family name Pauwels can be found here. On 12 April the Vilnius City District Court issued a ruling in the Wardyn case. The family concerned has been fighting in the courts for the...
Forced surname change at 11 years of age

Forced surname change at 11 years of age

posted on March 24, 2016
On the June 2004 a child was born into a family in Lithuania. This child was given the original surname of his father – which includes the letter q. The original surname of the child did not cause any problems when issuing the birth certificate and the passport of the Republic of Lithuania in 2004. For 11 years the child was raised in Lithuania and identified by his original surname (with a letter q) at school, on school certificates,  at the bank when a bank card was issued, in health care institutions and in his private life, as well as among his friends and family. In 2014, following...
Ongoing Human Rights Battle – “x” and “w” have the right to exist

Ongoing Human Rights Battle – “x” and “w” have the right to exist

posted on October 22, 2015
The European Foundation of Human Rights brought another action before the Vilnius City Administrative Court concerning the right to privacy protection and respect for family life. The famous poet Adam Mickiewicz’s great-great-grandson, Roman Gorecki-Mickiewicz, asked EFHR for legal assistance in order to protect the rights of his daughter. The client’s daughter was born in Lithuania and issued a birth certificate, along with French and Lithuanian passports. In each of those documents her name was written in its original form – i.e. with “x” and “w” letters. The Lithuanian...
The liberal R. Šimašius – between words and actions

The liberal R. Šimašius – between words and actions

posted on August 07, 2015
On 30th June 2015, the District Court of the city of Vilnius adopted the judgement according to which the Civil Registry in Vilnius is obliged to make a change in the marriage certificate of a Lithuanian citizen who married a Belgian – to write in the letter “w”. The court has argued that the private life of an individual and the inviolability of family life must come before the country’s aspiration to protect the Lithuanian cultural identity. A refusal of the petitioners’ request, according to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, may be considered discrimination (in...
EFHR wins landmark court case: Vilnius City District Court allows a surname to be spelled with "W"

EFHR wins landmark court case: Vilnius City District Court allows a surname to be spelled with “W”

posted on July 30, 2015
The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) welcomes the landmark ruling of Vilnius City District Court which has changed Lithuania’s stance regarding the spelling of names and surnames in their original form. The Court has allowed a Lithuanian citizen’s surname to be spelled with the letter “w”. EFHR held a press conference at the Court at 2pm on the 30 July with BNS Press Agency. EFHR has, for a number of years, been stressing that the right to spell one’s name in its original form is a fundamental human right. It is a right that stems from the right to...
Web portal LRT.lt twists the words of a representative of the Lithuanian Community in Poland management board

Web portal LRT.lt twists the words of a representative of the Lithuanian Community in Poland management board

posted on July 23, 2015
On 29th June 2015 an article appeared on the LRT.lt web portal in which a member of the Lithuanian Community in Poland management board, Irena Gasperavičiūtė, introduced by the journalist B. V. as the leader of the Lithuanian Community in Sejny (which, in fact, does not exist) was said to have claimed that since 2005 Lithuanians who live in Poland have had only a theoretical right to their first and last names being spelt in their mother tongue. The article also said that, according to the representative, there are no technical capabilities of spelling first and last names in...
EFHR encourages all to join the Facebook action supporting the original spelling of names and surnames

EFHR encourages all to join the Facebook action supporting the original spelling of names and surnames

posted on July 07, 2015
On Tuesday June 16, it was the second time the Commission of the Lithuanian Language (Valstybinė lietuvių kalbos komisija) did not agree to the original spelling of the names and surnames of national minority representatives in its report. According to the Commission, non-Lithuanian names might be written on identity cards only in cases of marriage between a Lithuanian and a foreigner or when a foreigner has gained Lithuanian citizenship. So, once again, the Commission has refused Poles living in Lithuania the chance to be able to spell their names and surnames in the original...
Spelling of names and surnames in Poland and the possibility of their change

Spelling of names and surnames in Poland and the possibility of their change

posted on February 03, 2015
In recent years, Poland has introduced many changes in legislation concerning the spelling of names and surnames and also in the rules for changing them. It seems that Poland may be a good example of how to adjust the national law when it comes to delicate issues like names and surnames by taking into consideration the needs of different social groups along with international legal requirements. There is no singular unified act in official documents which regulates the spelling of names and surnames. This does not mean, however, that there are no regulations in this matter. On the...
The discussion concerning unusual spelling of names and surnames

The discussion concerning unusual spelling of names and surnames

posted on September 16, 2014
On September 13th 2014 the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) representative, Ewelina Baliko, participated in radio discussion concerning the spelling of names and surnames in the documents of Lithuanian citizens. The discussion was held in Lithuanian Radio and Television (LRT). The EFHR representative talked about examples of cases related to this topic which are looked into by EFHR and about the problems Lithuanian citizens encounter when trying to have their names registered with the use of original spelling, among others. The discussion started after Commission of the Lithuanian...
Original spelling of names and surnames is a problem for all Lithuanian citizens

Original spelling of names and surnames is a problem for all Lithuanian citizens

posted on August 05, 2014
The Right to the original spelling of name and surname constitutes one of the core rights of every citizen. The possibility of proper usage of the law and respecting it should be unconditionally provided by each and every country. The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) would like to remind all that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has emphasized that regulating the spelling of names and surnames poses a liability for every member country and, moreover, it is closely connected with culture, linguistic history and a sense of identity. According to the ECtHR, if similar...
Foreign personal names will be able to be adjusted to the original spelling

Foreign personal names will be able to be adjusted to the original spelling

posted on July 15, 2014
On the 15th July 2014, in the 1st reading at the Seimas, two projects related to the Law on the Spelling of Surnames in the  Identity Documents of the Lithuanian Citizens were accepted. It is hoped that these will be beneficial not only for the members of national minorities urging to be able to regain the original spelling of their surnames, but also for the spouses and children of foreigners incessantly struggling with the difficulties connected with proving either their identity or a civic relationship with the other person. The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) reminds all...
SCLL is not against the original spelling of forenames and surnames

SCLL is not against the original spelling of forenames and surnames

posted on June 16, 2014
In April of this year the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) appealed to the State Commission for Lithuanian Language (SCLL, Valstybinė lietuvių kalbos komisija), whose function is the formation of guidelines in relation to state language policy, introducing arguments for accepting proper legal regulations concerning the issue of the spelling of forenames and surnames. Also, a meeting between EFHR and SCLL representatives took place, during which there was discussion concerning the Constitutional Court’s judgment from the 27th of February in which the Court claimed that...
Original spelling of surnames should be regulated legally

Original spelling of surnames should be regulated legally

posted on May 13, 2014
The issue of the original spelling of forenames and surnames in passports and identity cards still remains one of the most controversial topics, and one regularly covered by media outlets. On the 1st and the 10th of April this year in the Lithuanian Seimas two projects concerning the spelling of forenames and surnames were registered. The projects resolve the issue of the spelling only on the surface and in reality they don’t introduce significant legal changes which would be consistent with European standards (more about the first and the second project). Against the validation of the...
Presidential Candidates on the protection of minority rights and original spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames

Presidential Candidates on the protection of minority rights and original spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames

posted on May 09, 2014
The presidential election in Lithuania will take place on the 11th of May this year. The text that enables us to give an answer for questions concerning internal and foreign policy as well as comparing one’s ideas with the position of candidates for presidency was published on the website www.manobalsas.lt . The answers of candidates were made public. Among the 31 questions, the most important ones from the point of view of national minorities are those about the original spelling of non-Lithuanian surnames in documents as well as those about the degree of attention paid to the protection...
Alternative critical opinion concerning the original spelling of names and surnames in identity documents

Alternative critical opinion concerning the original spelling of names and surnames in identity documents

posted on May 06, 2014
On 25 April 2014 a discussion concerning the spelling of names and surnames was held in the Institute of the Lithuanian Language. Linguists, lawyers and cultural activists participated in the discussion. During the conclusion to the discussion the opinion of one linguist’s opinion was heard. This linguist expressed his disagreement to changing the way in which surnames are spelled in Lithuanian identity documents. The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) reminds all that the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania could change the rules concerning the spelling of names and surnames in...
Draft law concerning spelling of names and surnames – a big failure

Draft law concerning spelling of names and surnames – a big failure

posted on April 11, 2014
On April 10 this year, the next draft law in the Lithuanian Parliament concerning the spelling of names and surnames in documents was registered. The proposal was signed by the members of all factions, except for the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. An alternative project promises the possibility to write “names and surnames” in the original form on the further pages of a passport. The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) notices that this act, as well as the proposal of the social democrats...
45 writers oppose the original spelling of names and surnames

45 writers oppose the original spelling of names and surnames

posted on April 08, 2014
On 8th April 2014, 45 Lithuanian writers addressed a declaration to the highest authorities in Lithuania in which they expressed objections about the original spelling of names and surnames in documents issued in Lithuania. From the perspective of the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR), it is unpleasant and disappointing that a part of the Lithuanian intelligentsia does not understand and does not want to regulate issues that are not a mere whim of society, but, in actual fact, a human rights issue. According to the writers, validation of non-Lithuanian marks in documents would be,...
The bill "liberalizing" the spelling of names - still no solution to the problem

The bill “liberalizing” the spelling of names – still no solution to the problem

posted on April 07, 2014
The vice-chairman of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Gediminas Kirkilas, and the governor of the social democrats’ parliamentary faction, Irena Šiaulienė, introduced a draft law to the Seimas anticipating a liberalized mode of the spelling of names and surnames. Considering migration of the population, a growing number of mixed marriages, and the need to protect the rights of children born into such marriages, the proposal’s authors argue for the authentic spelling of names. The initiative of the draft law was undoubtedly influenced by the decision of the Constitutional Court...
Regulation of spelling of names and surnames in the hands of Commission of the Lithuanian Language

Regulation of spelling of names and surnames in the hands of Commission of the Lithuanian Language

posted on March 06, 2014
On 27th of February 2014, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania recognized that the spelling of names and surnames in the passport of a Lithuanian citizen is a linguistic issue. The Commission of the Lithuanian Language (PKJL) has the core role in that matter and one of its basic functions is formulating guidelines for national language politics. What is more, the Commission’s opinion always has to be taken into consideration when the question of the spelling of names and surnames in a passport is considered. The most important explanatory aspect of the Constitutional Court...
Right to use the language of national minorities is an issue of interpretation

Right to use the language of national minorities is an issue of interpretation

posted on February 14, 2014
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania is once again considering explanations for a few assumptions of the Constitutional Court decision from 21st October 1999, which refers to the spelling of surnames in passports of citizens of the Republic of Lithuania (RL). The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) emphasizes that a possibility to use the language of minorities in public life depends on interpretation. The Constitution of RL states that Lithuanian shall be the State language. However, the Constitution does not include a prohibition of introducing an auxiliary language...
Personal names can now retain original spelling in official documents

Personal names can now retain original spelling in official documents

posted on December 09, 2013
The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) is pleased to announce that rules regulating the original spelling of given and family names in official documents in Lithuania have now been changed. These rules are laid down by the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language. The EFHR had frequently attempted to demonstrate the need for such a change. Since 24 October 2013, the state law of Lithuania allows to use the original spelling of foreign personal names also in official documents. Until now, this was only possible in scientific publications, advertisements, and informative or...
Absurd argumentation of State Inspectorate of Language does not surprise anymore

Absurd argumentation of State Inspectorate of Language does not surprise anymore

posted on July 23, 2013
“The present Lithuanian system of spelling foreign names and surnames according to how they sound is anachronistic and idiotic,” claims Egidijus Kūris – a lawyer, a prominent constitutional law expert, and the former president of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania (2002-2008). Still, however, the State Inspectorate of Language (Valstybinė kalbos inspekcija) arbitrarily interprets constitutional provisions such as the ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania from 1999. Namely, having investigated the executive order of President Valdas Adamkus...
Freedom House changes its report about Lithuania on EFHR’s application

Freedom House changes its report about Lithuania on EFHR’s application

posted on June 03, 2013
Thanks to efforts of the European Foundation for Human Rights (EFHR) one of the world’s biggest organisations for democracy, Freedom House, has changed its report from the current year. In the report on Lithuania, which is available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/lithuania the fragment “The rights of ethnic minorities, who comprise about 16 percent of the population, are legally protected (…)” was removed. Text before the change Text after the change The rights of ethnic minorities, who comprise about 16 percent of the population, are legally...
Apple is not always an apple and Kowalski is not always Kowalski

Apple is not always an apple and Kowalski is not always Kowalski

posted on April 22, 2013
According to rules of the game of connotations, in which we have to tell a word that comes to our mind when we hear another word, the majority of us, for the set that will be presented in a moment, would say: Cashmere – a geographic region or a kind of fabric, an apple is a kind of fruit, Manchester United – an English football club. However, as it turns out, not everything is always that obvious. When we type the above words into a browser, we will find out that Cashmere, Apple or Oak are ones out of many uncommon names, given to children. Manchester United is the name and the last name...
Running away from inconvenient facts

Running away from inconvenient facts

posted on February 27, 2013
On numerous occasions we at EFHR have informed readers about the petition submitted by Mr Tomasz Snarski on the 31st of March 2011, titled “Language rights of Poles in Lithuania”. The petition regarded the main problems on the subject of language rights of the Polish minority – that is, the spelling of names and forenames, labelling settlements or streets in the minority language and educational matters. All points mentioned relate to rights, which should be available on a daily basis in a democratic European state. As it turns out, not everyone holds the same view. On the...
What happens next with proper names?

What happens next with proper names?

posted on February 25, 2013
http://www.simasius.lt/ In the media, Lithuanian politicians increasingly express their opinions concerning the original spelling of names and surnames. Remigijus Šimašius, former Minister of Justice, voices his opinion in an article entitled “We lost our way between Warsaw and Vilnius”, which he has recently posted on his blog (http://www.simasius.lt/). The politician perceives the existing situation as unjust, with issues regarding internal politics and human rights becoming part of external politics. A name is something every man gets from their family, above all from their parents;...
The Foundation organized the meeting to discuss changing the spelling of surnames.

The Foundation organized the meeting to discuss changing the spelling of surnames.

posted on February 19, 2013
It is widely known that the Lithuanian law – which regulates the issue of name/surname spelling in official documents, as well as any spelling changes – is very complicated. The petitioner’s claims are limited by a number of conditions that have to be fulfilled. This is why the procedures connected with changing the spelling of surnames may seem very difficult to many citizens. The Foundation states that the right to spell one’s surname in accordance with the spelling rules of one’s native language is the fundamental right of every citizen of a democratic country. The Foundation...
More contradictions in law on cases of original names and surnames spelling

More contradictions in law on cases of original names and surnames spelling

posted on February 13, 2013
EFHR has received another official statement of statistical data about non-Lithuanian surnames registered in Lithuania from the Bureau of Population Records (Gyventojų registro tarnyba prie VRM). What the statistics seem to prove is just as surprising as the previous statement (more information is available here: http://en.efhr.eu/2012/12/28/w-lawful-in-lithuania-after-all/). According to the official statement, it is possible to register names and surnames in Lithuania with the letters “x” and “q” – such as Alexander, Oxana, Lacroix. Such statistical data all the more...
Invitation for an information meeting: do I have the right to the original spelling of my name and surname?

Invitation for an information meeting: do I have the right to the original spelling of my name and surname?

posted on February 11, 2013
The European Foundation of Human Rights cordially invites everyone to an information meeting – ‘How to change the name – a step-by-step guide.’ The meeting is directed to everyone interested in benefiting from one of the fundamental human rights – the original spelling of their name and/or surname. The meeting will be attended by a qualified lawyer who will present the legal possibilities in this regard. In addition, an expert of the Foundation – Dr. Łukasz Wardyn, will give a talk on the activities conducted by the EFHR in 2013. Interestingly, there were almost 8,800 cases were...
Why does the number of requests concerning change of surname fall?

Why does the number of requests concerning change of surname fall?

posted on January 28, 2013
On 22 January, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania announced on their website that during the years 2010 and 2012 the number of requests for name and/or surname changes fell. The ministry perceives this to be as a result of the simplification of procedures for some kinds of justifications provided for alteration. Some powers of authority were handed over from the ministry to the registry offices located in the neighbourhood of the interested parties. There is no doubt that the simplification of procedures influenced the decreasing number of requests but the ministry omitted...
“W” lawful in Lithuania after all

“W” lawful in Lithuania after all

posted on December 28, 2012
Fot. Marian Paluszkiewicz The European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) has once again detected the hypocrisy of contradictory legal acts and practices which concern the original spelling of names and surnames in official documents. Today dozens, if not thousands of Lithuanian citizens struggle with the problem of name spelling.  According to the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language, “foreign proper names do not belong to the system of the Lithuanian language and therefore they should not be lithuanized.” Naturally, the EFHR perfectly agrees with that. However, several...
The struggle for surname spelling continues.

The struggle for surname spelling continues.

posted on November 16, 2012
The public signs in Lithuania should be written in the country’s official language (according to article 17 of the state language Act); however, to excise stamps on the goods subjected to excise duty (such as cigarettes and alcohol), car licence plates and proper names of companies this Act does not apply. That is how Vilnius District Administrative Court decided in its ruling, dissmising the plaint filed to the State Language Inspectorate by the European Foundation of Human Rights. In its plaint, EFHR pointed out that the rules of creating and spelling of legal entities’ proper names,...
Surnames - no, the names of companies - of course

Surnames – no, the names of companies – of course

posted on July 19, 2012
European Foundation for Human Rights filed five applications to the State Language Inspectorate asking for an explanation of why the names of companies (both Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian), car license plates, tourist inscriptions and excise stamps on the goods subjected to excise duty (such as cigarettes and alcohol) can contain letters which are not included in Lithuanian alphabet. The Foundation asked to change this situation as well, motivating it by the need to protect the national language. This action was intended to check whether the State Language Inspectorate dares to admit that the...
The European Parliament considers the rights of the Polish minority in Lithuania to be a very important matter. Below is Mr. Tomasz Snarski’s account of the Committee on Petitions’ meeting.

The European Parliament considers the rights of the Polish minority in Lithuania to be a very important matter. Below is Mr. Tomasz Snarski’s account of the Committee on Petitions’ meeting.

posted on April 26, 2012
The European Parliament Committee on Petitions has held a meeting on the 24th of April 2012 during which the petition submitted by Mr. Tomasz Snarski, in regards to the polish minority’s language rights in Lithuania, was discussed. The European Foundation of Human Rights supported Mr. Snarski’s case (more information can be found here: http://www.efhr.eu/2011/09/15/fundacja-rusza-z-poparciem-dla-inicjatywy-tomasza-snarskiego/). The Committee decided to put forward the petition for further consideration, and this decision fills us with optimism and clearly signifies that the European...
European Foundation of Human Rights declared full support for Mr. Snarski’s initiative

European Foundation of Human Rights declared full support for Mr. Snarski’s initiative

posted on September 15, 2011
The European Foundation of Human Rights expressed its full appreciation for an initiative of assistant lecturer at the Department of Criminal Material and Executive Law and Judicial Psychiatry at the University of Gdańsk – Mr. Tomasz Snarski, who has submitted at March 31, 2011 a petition to the European Parliament, which tittle was “Lingual rights of Polish nationals living in Lithuania”. Its content will be discussed under frame of European Parliament’s Petition Committee work. The main purpose of the petition is to draw the problem of lingual rights of Polish minority in Lithuania...

How to change your name - step-by-step instructions
How to change your name – step-by-step instructions

A person who would like to exercise his/her right to change a name should file an application to the local Civil Registry Office (Civilinės metrikacijos skyrius). The complete list of the Offices can be found at: https://mepis.vrm.lt/web/mepis/kontaktai.

A written application for a name change can also be submitted via the internet, through the MEPIS system (https://mepis.vrm.lt).

The following documents should be attached to the filled in application form (www.efhr.eu/application):

  1. An ID (does not concern the minors since they are not entitled to possess such document);
  2. The documents that justify filing the application. Suggestions of EFHR:
  3. Final judgment delivered in 2007 by the European Court of Human Rights (www.efhr.eu/judgment ) on the case Johansson v. Finland (Application no. 10163/02) that states as follows: provided that the name is registered in the Population Registration and it has been contended that it has no negative consequences for the preservation of the cultural and linguistic identity, there are no grounds for refusing the name’s registration.
  4.  A note from the General Registry Office asserting the existence of registered non-Lithuanian names (http://www.efhr.eu/listLT and http://www.efhr.eu/listEN)

In addition, one is required to prove that his/her ancestors also used this name by enclosing appropriate documents (birth, marriage or death certificates). If one fails to obtain such documents, he/she shall submit a written notice informing of this fact.

The fee for the name change amounts to 42 litas and is payable after a favorable consideration of the case. The application is to be examined within 2 months from the filing date.

If the case is favorably considered, the Registry Office issues a certificate of the name change and the copy of the amended entry into the registry. The certificate provides a sufficient evidence of the name and surname’s change. Therefore, given institutions have an obligation to avoid any inconvenience caused by receiving inheritance, visiting the bank or in one’s personal life.

European Foundation of Human Rights encourages using a possibility of changing already registered names whose spelling includes non-Lithuanian letters, letter combinations and double letters. In case of a negative consideration of the application, EFHR offers free legal advice and help with suing the Civil Registry Office.

The Foundation reminds of asking about the confirmation that the application was lodged. Moreover, it is advisable to file the copies, not originals, of the documents, such as pre-war birth certificates. For more information on the rights, go to: (http://www.efhr.eu/download/ulotki/Centrum_Pomocy_Prawnej.pdf).

EFHR offers free legal advice on this matter. Contact: : info@efhr.eu or  +37069150822. More information can be found on the foundation’s website: www.efhr.eu.

Below you can find the answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

FAQ
FAQ

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