The Strasbourg Court of Human Rights finds against Spain

Baby had to take father’s name although he wanted her aborted Credit: Conger Design Pixnio

THE Strasbourg Court of Human Rights finds against Spain over the fact that a woman had to allow her daughter to have the father’s surname before hers.
Josefa León Madrid was born in 1969 and lives in Palma de Mallorca and between 2004 and 2005 she had a relationship with a man identified as J.S.T.S. and became pregnant.
According to her testimony to the Court, J.S.T.S. insisted that she terminate the pregnancy, which led her to break with him completely as she wanted to keep the baby and gave birth to a girl.
Due to the break up, she registered the birth with the two surnames (paternal and maternal) used by her mother but in 2006, J.S.T.S. brought a non-marital paternity suit, against her and as part of the proceedings, the judge decided that the child would bear the surname of the father followed by that of the mother.
The applicant unsuccessfully challenged this decision before the higher courts and the domestic proceedings ended in 2012.
At the relevant time, Spanish law provided that in the event of disagreement between the parents, the child would bear the father’s surname followed by that of the mother although in a later amendment, this was changed so that any decision would be made by a court.
The Court noted that two individuals in a similar situation – the applicant and the child’s father – had been treated differently and that the distinction was based exclusively on grounds of sex.
The defence given by the Spanish Government had not therefore been sufficiently objective and reasonable, so the Court ruled that Spain was to pay the applicant €10,000 in respect of non-pecuniary compensation and a further € 23,853.22 in respect of costs and expenses.
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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Share your story with us by emailing [email protected], by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page


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