Certain names are not permitted in Spain. / sur

Spanish judge refuses to register baby's birth because her name is a noun

The family are mystified, but the judge insists that if they don’t choose another name she will do it herself

HELENA RODRÍGUEZ MADRID.

Hazia sleeps peacefully in her cot, quite oblivious to the comings and goings of the adults around her since she came into this world on 22 October. Hazia, meaning seed, is what her parents decided to call her once they discovered that the baby they were expecting was a girl, but now they are angry: a judge has told them the name is not permissible and they must either choose another one or she will do it herself and register the little girl under the name she decides on. The family are furious.

Like many other couples, once their baby was born Bergoi López and Alazne Cimavilla left it to the hospital to register the birth but two days later they received a surprise call. “The hospital said the name was not acceptable for two reasons: one was that no other little girl had been called that and the other is that the name is a noun,” the baby’s grandmother, Rosa María Manteiga, explained in disbelief.

The family contacted the Royal Academy of the Basque Language and were told they could see no problem with using the name. “Ibai and Aritza are nouns as well. Why is Zigor, which means punishment, allowed, but not Hazia?” Rosa María wants to know.

According to the Academy there is a general rule that names with negative connotations should be avoided, and under Spanish law nobody would be allowed to call a baby Osama bin Laden, Stalin, Hitler, Satan, Crazy or Poo, for example, nor could they opt for the names of fruit or diminutives such as Andreita instead of Andrea.

Administrative delays

Hazia’s family went to see the judge to discuss the matter but the meeting did not go well. “She insisted she was right and that if we didn’t choose another name she would do it herself,” they said. Bergoi flatly refused to change Hazia’s name or to sign anything so now they are waiting to see what name their daughter is registered under. What the judge says, goes.

Some normal administrative procedures, such as the application for maternity benefit and registering the baby with Social Security have come to a halt because of this delay and the family have requested another meeting with the judge.

“We think that what is happened is that one meaning of hazia is semen, but there is a similar name in the Muslim culture – Aziah – and we have been told that would be allowed,” said Rosa María.

And what if the judge does register the baby under another name? “We will take it to the highest court in the land. My grand-daughter is called Hazia,” she said, firmly.