Published June 26, 2014
A 10-year-old Icelandic girl whose birth name, Harriet, was not recognised by the National Registry has received an emergency British passport for temporary use. Her family is also filing a formal complaint against the National Registry.
Vísir reports that the emergency passport, granted by the British embassy, will only be used for Harriet to travel with her family to France. She can receive a permanent British passport on her return, but that process takes six weeks to complete.
Meanwhile, Harriet’s parents have decided to file a formal complaint against the National Registry with the Ministry of the Interior. National Registry official Sólveig Guðmundsdóttir told reporters that, as of 2010, all Icelandic passports must contain legally recognised first or middle names. As Harriet’s name was rejected by the Name Committee, Sólveig contends, the Registry cannot legally give her a passport. Harriet’s parents, however, argue that nowhere in the Law On Passports is it stated that the full name in an Icelandic passport must have Name Committee approval.
As reported, Harriet Cardew is the daughter of an Icelandic mother and a British father. She and her eleven-year-old brother Duncan are currently listed as Stúlka and Drengur Cardew — Girl and Boy Cardew — in the National Registry because their names have not been approved by the Name Committee.
The committee approves new names based on two primary factors: whether the name has some historical precedent and whether it can be declined in accordance with Icelandic grammar.
The committee has faced increasing criticism and challenges. In February 2013, Blær Bjarkardóttir Rúnarsdóttir finally won a long legal battle to have her first name officially accepted into the lexicon. Reykjavík mayor Jón Gnarr has also gone on record as saying the Name Committee represents an “unfair, stupid law against creativity.”