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April Fool's Day it may be, but sillinness is not restricted to April 1st - did you know that many countries have laws relating to names you may give to children, largely to prevent silly names?
In 2008, a Swedish couple were fined for submitting the name Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 for their boy. Having failed to register a name for him before his 5th birthday, they were chased by authorities and tried to submit this as a name but it fell foul of a law instigated in 1982 that requires official approval of names from the tax authorities. The name was rejected on the grounds that it would lead to problems for the child in later life. Last year they also rejected Q as a name on the same grounds.
Children's names must also be approved in Germany where law states that names must clearly denote gender and not be likely to cause problems in life. Woodstock, Huckleberry and Stompie have all been rejected in germany where it is also illegal to pass on triple or quadruple-barelled surnames to children! The name Adolf Hitler would also not gain approval in Germany.
Peru passed laws in 1998 banning parents from giving names of the opposite gender to their children, and again requiring official sanction for names. Giving more than two names to a child was also banned on the grounds that it causes problems for their computer systems!
Even some states in the USA govern child naming to ensure that sensible names prevail; generally names may not be granted if they are requested for fraudulent intent (ie. taking on the name of someone well known), if they are 'confusing' or if they are likely to incite racial hatred.
The UK doesn't appear to have any laws governing the granting of names. Although names have to be officially registered soon after birth, there aren't legal restrictions on the choice of name. We have a friend who changed his name to Happy Birthday! Really he did, find out more about Happy,who is behind DoDaDog, here!
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