On 6 August this year, the Vilnius District Court adopted next ruling on the spelling of names and surnames. The applicant entered into a marriage with a citizen of the United Kingdom, P.J. Warne, however, in the marriage certificate the surname of the applicant was written with the letter “v”. After the adoption of a favourable decision , the court obliged the Vilnius Civil Registry Division to change applicant’s surname to “Warne” and to issue her marriage certificate with “w”.
The decision of the court also shows that on the basis of the data from the resident registration submitted to the court, the letter “w” appears in the personal documents in names and surnames of the citizens of Lithuania. This evidence confirms the fact that there is the possibility of such spelling. On the other hand there is no evidence that this kind of spelling would have a negative impact on the status of Lithuanian language as the official language or would expose state institutions to significant inconvenience.
Ewelina Dobrowolska, lawyer of the European Foundation of Human Rights, which made the application to the court, fully agrees with the judicial decision – according to the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, different spelling of spouses’ surname may cause serious trouble in their private or professional lives. If such spelling casts doubts on the authenticity of the information given in the documents and casts doubts on the identity of a family and its members, then these families are exposed to significant inconvenience, for example, benefiting from the right to move and reside freely across the territory of the Member States.