World Nutella Day – What is in a name?

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Choosing a child’s name can be an easy task for some parents and an agonising one for others. The name given to a child will form part of their identity and as they grow older it can be the source of some adolescent embarrassment.

The UK’s rules on baby names are among the most liberal in the world. There are currently no restrictions on what name a parent may choose for their child, provided they choose a name which will not be deemed offensive. However, many countries across the world have more strict rules on the naming of children.

This was highlighted in a recent case in France, in which the parents of a girl born in September 2014 were told they cannot name their daughter Nutella, after the hazelnut spread with cocoa.

The family court ruled that “the first name Nutella, given to the child, is that of the commercial brand of a spread” and would cause “mockery or disobliging remarks”. In the end her parents decided to name her Ella.

This case shows that parents should think very carefully over their child’s name and save themselves potential legal costs and wasted time in trying to choose a name which could be deemed controversial.

Amanda Crowe is a divorce solicitor at Barker Gotelee, Solicitors in Ipswich.

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