Change in the Interpretation Act that removes the requirement for women to put their spouse’s surname on their birth certificate

Change in the Interpretation Act that removes the requirement for women to put their spouse’s surname on their birth certificate

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 14/07/2023
[Photo: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]

Majority of the Members of Parliament voted to amend the Interpretation Act that now removes the requirement for women to put their spouse’s surname on their birth certificate if they wish to use their married name.

Attorney General, Siromi Turaga says in 2021, the Interpretation Act was amended to provide that where any written law authorises or requires a person to provide his or her name, the person must provide the name as specified on the birth certificate, and where any written law authorises or requires a person to provide any form of identification of himself or herself, the person must provide such form of identification which accurately reflects the name as specified on the birth certificate.

Turaga says these changes however disadvantaged mainly women who were then mandated to change the name on their birth certificate to include their spouse’s surname in order to continue using their spouse’s surname for various purposes including official identification or documentation including voter ID cards.

The Interpretation (Amendment) Bill 2023 removes these amendments that were made in 2021 through the Interpretation (Amendment) Act 2021.


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