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ICL Journal

Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law

Editor-in-Chief: Bezemek, Christoph / Eberhard, Harald / Fuchs, Claudia

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Volume 11, Issue 4


What’s in a Name? Equal Treatment, Union Citizens and National Rules on Names and Titles

Ágoston Mohay
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  • Department of International and European Law, Faculty of Law, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
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/ Norbert Tóth
  • Department of International Law, Faculty of International and European Studies, National University of Public Service, Budapest, Hungary
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Published Online: 2017-12-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icl-2017-0075


The construction of names and the use of nobility titles is not regulated by European Union law. Yet the Court of Justice of the EU has had to deal with such issues on various occasions where national rules on names or titles had to be contrasted with the EU law on equal treatment, Union citizenship and free movement and residence. Rules on names fall essentially within the competence of the member states, but the states have to regard EU law when exercising this competence. Our paper undertakes to analyse this issue in light of a recent relevant judgment, the Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff case, having regard also to the Court’s reasoning regarding the national constitutional identity clause [Art 4 (2)TEU]. We argue – inter alia – that the Court of Justice decided in this judgment not to favour the rights of a free-moving EU citizen (even if the judgment admittedly affects only a limited circle of individuals) and put national constitutional identity first, yet the way in which the identity clause was used by the Court is also debatable in our view.

Keywords: equal treatment; nobility titles; free movement and residence; constitutional identity

About the article

Published Online: 2017-12-05

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: ICL Journal, Volume 11, Issue 4, Pages 585–602, ISSN (Online) 1995-5855, ISSN (Print) 2306-3734, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icl-2017-0075.

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© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

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