Woman challenges refusal to allow her to put father's surname on her child's birth certificate

By Ann O'Loughlin

A woman is seeking a High Court order challenging a refusal by the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, to allow her to register her child's surname under the name of his father.

He opposes his name being put on the birth certificate.

The woman, who came here from Africa and sought asylum, had a relationship with an Irishman and they had a child together, but they later broke up.

She wanted the father's surname put on the birth certificate but he would not consent to this, Feichin McDonagh SC, for the woman, told the court.

Under the law, she is entitled to apply to have his name on the document, providing she got a court order, which she did, counsel said.

The matter is governed by the Status of Children Act 1987 which makes provision for maintenance orders where the man did not offer any defence to the allegation of parentage or was not a party to proceedings where parentage was being adjudged.

When the woman got the order, she applied to register the child in his name with the Registrar General, but was refused on the basis there was no power to include the Irish father's name, counsel said.

Mr McDonagh said the Registrar does have the power. His client was seeking an order that the Registrar cannot refuse to do so.

Mr Justice Seamus Noonan granted leave to bring judicial review proceedings against the Registrar General and adjourned the matter to January. He also ordered the father be notified of the proceedings.

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