Case law on children’s changes of name

England & Wales

These are cases which are to do with a child’s change of name.

There are also many cases — going back hundreds of years — to do with changes of name in general (typically involving adults).

The earliest known case of a child’s change of name was Hawkins v Luscombe (1818) and (involving the same person) Doe dem. Luscombe v Yates in 1822.  In those cases, the child — John Luscombe Luscombe — was 15 or 16 years of age when he, on his own behalf, adopted the surname Luscombe for all purposes, instead of his own surname of Manning.

Although there are very few other cases involving a change of name of a child until 1963, the general principles of a change of name (laid down by historical cases, affecting adults) also apply to children.  Modern children’s cases are typically to do with whether a child’s name can be changed, typically against one of the parents’ / guardians’ wishes.

Case Court Year
Hawkins v Luscombe (1818) Court of Chancery 1818
Doe dem. Luscombe v Yates, Hawker, and Mudge (1822) 5 B. & Ald. 544 Court of King’s Bench 1822
Re T (orse H) (an Infant) [1963] Ch 238 High Court 1963
Practice Direction (Deed Poll: Minors) [1969] 1 WLR 1330   — 1969
Y v Y (Child: Surname) [1973] Fam 147 High Court 1973
Re D (Minors) (Adoption by Parent) [1973] Fam 209 High Court 1973
Re WG (1976) 6 Fam Law 210 Court of Appeal 1976
D v B (orse D) (Surname: Birth Registration) [1977] Fam 145 High Court 1976
Practice Direction (Minor: Change of Surname) [1977] 1 WLR 1065   — 1977
R v R (Child: Surname) [1977] 1 WLR 1256 Court of Appeal 1977
D v B (orse D) (Surname: Birth Registration) [1979] Fam 38 Court of Appeal 1978
Meek v Meek (1980) CA Court of Appeal 1980
Salter v Ashworth (1980) CA Court of Appeal 1980
W v A (Minor: Surname) [1981] Fam 14 Court of Appeal 1981
Re F (Children: Surname) [1993] 2 FLR 837 Court of Appeal 1993
Practice Direction (Child: Change of Surname) [1995] 1 WLR 365   — 1994
Re B (Minors) (Change of Surname) [1996] 1 FLR 791 Court of Appeal 1995
Re PC (Change of Surname) [1997] 2 FLR 730 High Court 1997
Dawson v Wearmouth [1997] EWCA Civ 2272 Court of Appeal 1997
Re C (Change of Surname) [1997] EWCA Civ 2783 (an application for permission to appeal) Court of Appeal 1997
Re T (Change of Name) [1998] EWCA Civ 854 Court of Appeal 1998
Re S (Change of Surname) [1998] EWCA Civ 1950 Court of Appeal 1998
Dawson v Wearmouth [1999] UKHL 18 House of Lords 1999
Re W, Re A, Re B (Change of Name) [1999] EWCA Civ 2030 Court of Appeal 1999
Re R (a Child) (Surname: Using Both Parents’) [2001] EWCA Civ 1344 Court of Appeal 2001
Re S (Change of Names: Cultural Factors) [2001] All ER (D) 30 (Jul) High Court 2001
Re H (a Child) (Child’s First Name) [2002] EWCA Civ 190 Court of Appeal 2002
AB v BB and Ors [2013] EWHC 227 (Fam) High Court 2013
Re W (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 735 (an application for permission to appeal) Court of Appeal 2013
Re W (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1488 Court of Appeal 2013

Cases where a change of name was allowed / recognised

Cases where a change of name was refused

Cases about a change of first name only

Applications under section 13(1) (Child Arrangements Orders / Residence Orders)

Applications under section 33(7) (Care Orders)

Applications made by a child on their own behalf