Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

What’s in a name?  Court rules out Scottish addition to Swiss surname 

Glenbuchat Castle in Scottland

The castle was built in the 16th century and is a scheduled ancient monument.


A Swiss court has rejected a demand by a citizen to add the name of a Scottish castle to her family name. 

An appeals court in Zurich threw out the request for either “of Glenbuchat” or simply “Glenbuchatexternal link” to complement the surnames of the woman and her daughter. They both have dual Swiss-Russian nationality and live in Hong Kong. 

The family reportedly bought the roofless castle in Aberdeenshire, eastern Scotland, and wanted to bring all its personal documents up to date. 

Judges argued that it was not sufficient to claim that the affix had already been approved by the Russian and Chinese authorities. The Zurich courtexternal link also said it was not possible to have a nobility title under rules laid down in the Swiss constitution. 

The request had already been rejected twice by the local authorities in Zurich and the cantonal justice department. 

Name changes are possible under Swiss law but only if there are “good reasons”, notably if the current name comes with concrete disadvantages, and in case of a change in marital status with Keystone-SDA/ug

Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line

WEF 2018

WEF Teaser 2018

Why Switzerland struggles with dirty gold

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

Click here to see more newsletters