No forename? No problem!

The importance of birth registration cannot be over emphasised.

A birth certificate, the by-product of birth registration, unlocks access to various services both in Saint Lucia and overseas. However, the registration practices in Saint Lucia have resulted in many persons, for one reason or another, not having a complete birth record.

Completed birth records, at a minimum, are records which include the following: the name of the record holder, their mother’s name, their date of birth and district of birth, and the relevant citation that allows for the record to be retrieved accurately. 

Why is a birth certificate important?

In Saint Lucia, the emphasis on birth records came about in or around 2014 when the Civil Status Act was amended to indicate that the birth certificate, “….that is issued by the State…. is the only officially recognised birth record of a person.” Prior to 2014, the baptismal or dedication record was used as the document for establishing citizenship and identity.

Who are the key players in the birth registration process?

The District Registrars, hospitals or other medical facilities, and the parent(s) are the key players in the birth registration process. Once a child is born in Saint Lucia, the hospital or medical facility issues a “Birth Notification” which is used by the District Registrar as evidence of a birth in Saint Lucia. District Registrars are region specific and as such, they can only record a birth that happens in their district. Parent(s) are encouraged to visit the District Registrar in the district of birth to complete the birth registration process.

How are birth records corrected if there is an error?

Correcting a record depends on the timeframe within which the error was discovered and the type of error which is being corrected. Below, we consider a few scenarios that can arise in the birth registration process and address how these can be settled.

Q: I am the mother of an infant who was born less than a year ago. I noticed that my name is incorrectly stated on the infant’s record. How can I correct this?

A: Once the error is brought to the attention of the relevant District Registrar within a year of the child’s birth, the birth record may be corrected. The mother must however submit relevant documentation, such as identification cards and/or any deed poll (deed of change of name).

Q: My birth record does not have my name included on it. How do I go about inserting my name on my birth record?

A: The Civil Status Act permits rectification of records. You must submit an application together with your identification card and baptismal or dedication record and pay the prescribed fee to the Adjudicator’s Section of the Registry of Civil Status. The Adjudicator will advise you of any additional steps required.

Q:  I have been known by a particular name since birth and I would like to keep that name. Is there any way this can be facilitated?

A: This will all depend on the particular facts. The “usage provision” of the Civil Status Act allows persons who can show consistent use of a particular name, from birth, to have that name reflected on their birth record. A formal request must be submitted to the Adjudicator’s Section with supporting affidavits from persons who have known you for at least 10 years. You are also required to provide your birth record and to pay the prescribed fee.

The success of these applications depends on the evidence submitted. Not all applications will be granted.

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Q: I have named my child and I wish to change it. Is this possible?

A: This is possible once certain conditions are met. The parent(s) may make one change to the name of the child within the year of the child’s birth. If a parent wishes to make another change within the year or to make a change more than a year after the child’s birth, then a deed poll (deed of change of name) must be done. This deed is made before a notary royal (a lawyer) in Saint Lucia and must be registered at the Office of Deeds & Mortgages.

Alternatively, changes may be approved if the requirements of the usage provision, explained above, are met.

Q: I have just given birth, and I do not have a name selected for my child. Can I wait until the child is baptised?

A: The Civil Status Act requires that a child is named at the point of registration and so you should not wait until the child is baptised. You can always make a single change to the child’s name within the year of birth, as was explained above. This one-time change is free of charge.

Prepared by Arthur Compass, Managing Associate, Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sardia Cenac Prospere, Partner.

FLOISSAC, DUBOULAY & THOMAS provides this information for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship. This guidance note is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular situation and you should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a lawyer. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

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