Skip to content

Real Life Story: Birth Certificates for Babies with Unknown Fathers

Real Life Story: Birth Certificates for Babies with Unknown Fathers

Lawgical with Ludmila

20 February 2024

Tim Elliot: Welcome to Lawgical the U.A.E. first and still the only regular legal podcast.  My name is Tim Elliot, and as always.
Here’s our expert the managing partner of the Dubai based legal firm HPL.
Yamalova and Plewka here in Dubai.
Nice to see you.
Nice to see you too.
Tim as always.
Now this is a special episode of Lawgical and we’re also very pleased to welcome a special guest. Now this is a recent mother of her of a baby boy who’s just turned a year old who was born in Dubai mother and baby are both full time residents of the UAE. Now I should say before we start in the interest of protecting the privacy of both mother and child we’ve changed their names and it’s a fascinating storyand a story in significant part written by Ludmila’s team it’s a real life case in which Ludmila and her team represented and fought for using creative persuasive and persistent techniques and challenged various UAE authorities on the application of the countries as we’ve talked many times about Ludmila, rapidly evolving and sometimes fundamentally novel laws.
Now I’m going to turn to you.
What are we talking about today?

Ludmila Yamalova: Yes so it’s a very interesting case regarding birth certificates and issues of birth certificates in Dubai for babies with unknown fathers in particular. So today we’ll with our special guest we’ll discuss a real life case involving a mother in Dubai who gave birth to a baby who had been conceived through IVF and the challenges she experienced in issues
of the birth certificate for her baby. In discussing her case we will naturally go over the legal framework for issues of birth certificates in the UAE and also analyze the application of those laws as compared to the actual process which in this particular case the mother went through.
This is a case which is both legally interesting and emotionally rather heart wrenching and a case of a baby who was first born and for quite some time was without a birth certificate and then a baby who was named by someone other than his mother. So and to hear the full story and the ultimate results listen to the rest of this discussion and so it’s
a bit of a cliffhanger.

Tim Elliot: It really is. Let’s meet Mum so Lindsey nice to meet you.

Lindsey: Hi Tim nice to meet you too.
Tim Elliot : Good to have you here now to the extent that you feel comfortable share a little bit of your story tell us about yourself where you’re from where you live what you do shoe size and all the important stuff that we need to know. But also in that how did you find Ludmila and her firm and why did you reach out to them to begin with.

Lindsey: Ok sure, So I’ve been I’m from the UK and I’ve actually been living in Dubai for over 12 years now.
I reached out to actually when I decided to to go ahead with with trying for a baby via IVF I the laws
were very different then I was a couple of years ago and I and they were changing as I became pregnant. So I reached out to live middle in the team to as a consultation really to understand what my options were to decide whether I needed to go back home to the UK to give birth or whether I could stay here. So I did do some research around you know my options I spoke to Ludmila and the team and I listened to the podcast.

Tim Elliot: Tell us a little bit about yourself you’re resident here in Dubai you’ve lived here for what 12 years you work in the corporate world in Dubai your professional working mum as it were.

Ludmila Yamalova: And you’re not and you’re you’re not married because that’s that’s the key you’re not married and you’re not Muslim which is the discussion and the progress of your life story those factors are fairly relevant and we will soon find out why.
So and you decided to have a baby on your own.

Lindsey:  Obviously while living in the UAE which was for many years actually not possible for a single mother to have a baby and for that baby to be born here.
So when did you remember exactly around what time you decided to you start thinking about the idea of being a single mom.
Just because in terms of the timeline historical timeline and how the laws evolved.
It’ll be interesting. So it was it was just after covid was during covid that I actually started the process so it was early 2021 where I started looking into into my options I started by freezing my eggs and then decided to go ahead with with trying for a baby on my own.
I did actually because at that time it was as far as I was aware it was illegal to to be pregnant in
the UAE or to give birth in UAE unmarried.
I actually did the IVF in Greece and I used to I had an anonymous donor via a bank a sperm bank from Denmark. So the process was all outside of UAE and I was planning to remain in the UAE for as much as my pregnancy
as I could. While I worked out what my options were about about giving where I could give birth. And when did you finally get pregnant and when was the baby supposed to arrive.
So I I did my successful round in 2022 mid 2022.
So and my son was due February last year February 2023.

Tim Elliot OK well congratulations because he’s now a year old and he’s walking.
OK so life’s changed for you forever.
Now he’s very much mobile.

Tim Elliot: So let’s just jump back ever so slightly.
Where did you want to give birth which country and where did you end up giving birth?

Lindsey: Yeah I really wanted to stay here because you know I’ve been living here a long time.
I’m everything you know this is my home.
I from even from a convenience factory if I didn’t need it to to leave the country to give birth I’d
have had to have left at least a month.
Earlier I wanted to work as much as possible up until my due date.
I would have had to come back with a young baby.
I’ve been here a long time.
I’ve got pets here.
What would I have done with my pets.
What I needed to move house right before I gave birth.
You know all those it was more convenient for me to be able to stay here and to have a newborn baby in my own home rather than to have to go somewhere else.
And so at that time what did you know about the the UAE laws in terms of your ability or inability for
that matter to have a baby on your own.
And and how did you learn about what the legal framework was at play at the time.
Yeah so as I mentioned when I first started the process I was thinking I thought I would need to go home and I was going to cross that path when it came to it.
By the time I actually got pregnant I had heard via various like Facebook groups or you know conversations
I’d seen that the laws had changed and it was now possible to give birth unmarried.
So I was aware of that I just wasn’t as sure about the step of being single.
You know I knew okay if I had if I’d had a partner and been unmarried it would be possible.
But the next step about is it possible being unmarried and with no father.
So that was when I I reached out to yourself.
And how did you find us.
I recall the podcast.
I’m just trying to remember the same podcast that we’re recording here today.
I love this podcast.
I listened to a number of the episodes.
So you have some episodes specifically about getting the birth certificate and you did have.
You do have an episode about getting the birth certificate as a single mother.
So that was what made me you know I knew you had the experience in that area reach out to you.
Coming across the podcast I believe was via a friend of mine who was also a single mother who gave birth
via IVF a few years ago.
She gave birth outside of the UAE.

Tim Elliot : What was your company like.
You’re obviously employed here.
You’ve worked here for some time.
Were they supportive.

Lindsey: They as far as I’m aware they I mean I’m assuming some of them you but I didn’t bring it to their attention.
I just you know I didn’t tell them about the pregnancy until quite later on and I just told them I was
pregnant without giving them the the circumstances.
So I didn’t go into the actual details of.
There’s no necessity that you should.
I mean it’s just part of life.
It’s just an interesting point to make.
What about health insurance.
But on that point about my company I mean is I do work for a global company with American headquarters.
So I did.
I didn’t think it would be an issue.
OK. And health insurance was fine
Yeah I have very good international health insurance.
So I was covered during my pregnancy with medical cover.

Ludmila Yamalova: But in that regard you were quite lucky and this is why we ask these questions because in a lot of people’s
cases and we have had a number of women in.
Very much similar situation as you who have reached out to us and there are some of their perhaps biggest
concerns at the kind of early stages of their pregnancy is that what will the companies think what would
their employers think will they fire them is that well even though I think by now most people know that
the laws have changed but do companies know that or do companies take it take it kind of have they adopted
or adapted their mindset about this being an ordinary matter and not a criminal as it used to be.
And so for a lot of a lot of clients that who approach us that’s one of their biggest factors is the
companies actually their employers either threaten to terminate them or terminate them or question them
or challenge them.
And that’s one part of the equation and the related part is insurance because as we those of us who live
in the UAE know that in most people’s cases it’s the company or employer that also sponsors the health
insurance and.
And we’ve heard from both angles that it’s the company that says oh no no no no your insurance will not
cover you in these sort of circumstances because you are not married.
And similarly we also heard people’s concerns that the insurance companies are saying oh no no we’re
not going to cover you because you’re not married.
And we in fact have researched this quite extensively on both fronts from the legal standpoint and from
contractual standpoint.
So from a legal standpoint there’s nothing in the law being the insurance law or any other relevant laws
for obvious reasons that state that in order for you to benefit from your health insurance coverage you
need to be married.
There’s nothing in the law that’s contrary to many of the representations we hear from employees and
companies representatives and insurance companies  representative as well.
So that’s on the law side of things but also on the contractual side of things in terms of your health
insurance coverage itself because it’s a contract.
We have yet to see a single contract that actually makes marriage and marriage certificate a requirement
for a mother to benefit from health insurance.
And yet that topic keeps coming up and people are continuously being told that they will not be covered.
Have you heard anything like this from?

Lindsey: Yeah it’s actually really interesting hearing you say that because I have met a number of other women
in the same situation as myself who have who you mentioned earlier.
I was lucky who haven’t been as lucky as me and I can’t comment on their work situations.
None of them have mentioned that their work had any problem with it.
But I do know that they weren’t covered by their health insurance and they have had to pay for their
medical, their x-rays and all the birth themselves.
And I’ll tell you from a legal and practical standpoint my speculation is that they were not covered
not because they were actually not covered but because insurance companies took that stance not covering
But had they pressed that in most cases if they had put the insurance companies to a task in terms of
proving their case they would have realized that there was nothing that prevented insurance companies
from covering them.
In fact they would have been covered.
So it’s a little bit more of a perhaps a theoretical point but to the point when you say they’re not
covered it’s not because the law says so or because the contracts provided for lack of coverage.
But rather because it’s unfortunate insurance companies mindset to this day that somehow this marriage
certificate is the requirement.
And after I heard everybody else’s experience I actually thought oh I’m lucky and maybe my insurance
company didn’t realize I wasn’t married and I got away with it.
So that’s interesting.

Tim Elliot: It’s a good thing to point that out though.
I think that’s a really important thing to say.
Lindsey let’s talk about when you had your little boy.
I don’t want all the detail obviously but I hope everything was.
I’m doing my main thing here on I do not do much.
I hope everything went smoothly.
Tell us about the hospital.

Lindsey: There were no complications.
Everything was fine.
Yes. Andrew actually came unexpectedly early.
So he made a surprise appearance two weeks early.
I delivered a Park View.
Luckily I made it to Park View because as I said he was in a real hurry.
It was a very short labor.
And I think I only gave birth in the hospital because I happened to be there for a checkup at the time
anyway. Interesting story. And so stop there.
And so let’s kind of start perhaps go back a little bit in terms of the hospital.
And now you chose the hospital.

Tim Elliot: Did you ever experience any issues with the hospital itself in terms of requiring from you a copy of marriage certificate or questioning about that?
Or was it a fairly by the time you delivered or you were preparing to deliver with a fairly smooth process

Lindsey: in the hospital did not really for the purposes of the hospital didn’t really matter whether you had
a marriage certificate or not.
And therefore you would have had a file by that time that you showed up.
You would have had a registered file and perhaps all the paperwork already submitted.
Actually I do remember that when I spoke with you before that was one of the things you’d advise that
if you are planning to give birth here then maybe speak to the hospital before you give birth.
Give them the IVF documentation make them aware of the situation.
I remember with my doctor.
She wasn’t aware of anybody else giving birth in my situation here.
So she was like let me ask around but she really didn’t want me to raise to the hospital that it was
an IVF pregnancy because she said sometimes some insurance don’t cover birth when it’s an IVF pregnancy.
So I we didn’t actually give the hospital any we didn’t tell them in before and.
OK. But the fact that they had a file on you and ultimately admitted you meant that for their purposes
they felt that the paperwork had been fulfilled.
But previously but previously in order for that paperwork to have been fulfilled you would have needed
to have a copy of your birth certificate or your marriage certificate as part of the file.
I was visiting the doctor.
I know some people have their doctors in the hospital.
Mine was a separate clinic.
So yeah I’m assuming she booked me in with my file which would have had you know didn’t have a father’s
name and any any marriage certificate.
I was never asked for that.
And on that on that point as well as you prior to the delivery as you were being seen by your OBGYN had
anybody asked you these questions.

Tim Elliot: Did you ever feel uncomfortable about being seen without a husband by your side.

Lindsey: I really didn’t. I felt completely comfortable.
I felt able to you know I don’t know if confide the right word but I you know to be very honest with my doctor about the situation.
I didn’t feel like I was going to get there would be any repercussions of telling anybody.
But nobody asked a puff after that.
It was never a brought up as you know I was never asked for the marriage certificate or any further information.

Tim Elliot: OK so now you’re in the hospital.

Lindsey: I delivered to kids in the UAE too.
So I speak a little bit from personal experience and then that point were you given any paperwork you
needed to fill out that you remember clearly.
I as a sort of new mother at that point I think you remember some things and other things.
And I remember being very aware that I needed a birth notification before I let you know that was essential for me to be able to get the birth certificate.I was going to need the birth notification and that I needed a typed version. I remember seeing that I think that was mentioned in your podcast as well. So I actually was what’s the word is it dispatched.
I was from that allowed to leave the hospital on the Sunday and there was just no there was no one around.There was no admin staff around so I actually had to leave the hospital without anything. And they told me to come back for the birth notification. So I was a little bit worried at that stage.
But I think I went back a couple of days later and they had three copies of the birth notification that
I had to write my son’s full name.
So his first name middle name and last name and sign and I was able to take two copies.
So I was I was relieved at that stage that I had that paperwork.
And you perhaps you don’t recall but the form of this birth notification is rightfully said there is
that’s a step birth notification is set before birth certificate.
But that form among other things calls for input on the baby’s name the mother’s full name nationality of the mother the father’s full name nationality of father and the nationality of the baby. And then also the names of the doctors and the nurses and the date and the time when the baby was born. So that’s sort of all the information goes into this birth notification.
So from what you recall what did you put in for the baby for the fathers the section that called for
the father’s details and in terms of nationality.
And how did you come up with the baby’s name and what was it.
Yeah, I I remember writing my son’s full name and signing.
It’s cool if I I feel like the names are the rest of the form was already typed out.
So the father’s name name was either blank or crosses or if it if it did need to be filled in I would
have filled in my name and left the father’s name blank.
And how did you name your child and what nationality did you give him.
Okay, so I named him Andrew James Johnson and he is British.

Ludmila Yamalova: And then so you walked out of the hospital with nothing on you which in of itself was very brave of you
because we’ve we’ve seen many cases where people walk out of the hospital with nothing.
And then that point is very difficult for them to to actually go back and get some sort of a document
that ultimately will allow them to apply for the birth certificate.
So the fact that the hospital was already receptive to it.
And as you said, perhaps even might have already populated or blanked out the father’s name and that basically means that they must have reviewed the file and saw that you were giving birth with IVF and such.
So I think that’s compared to what how what what we started when we started doing our first podcast on this topic. This is quite a huge progress. It’s huge distance in what was it two and a half years or something like that since we kind of first
covered this topic.

Tim Elliot: Lindsey, how was your stay at the hospital?

Lindsey: No, nobody asked you why there was no father with the checkout seems to me it was pretty smooth because
you just left and then have to go back on the Monday morning kind of thing.
Yeah, exactly.
Even, you know, at the time, as I mentioned, it was a it was a checkup that I went in for a kind of ad hoc checkup.Nobody asked me if you know my husband was on the way or anything.
Nobody.It was just a non topic, to be honest.Yeah, it my stay I was there for two nights.
Everything went smoothly.And yeah, there was no issues with me leaving apart from the fact I didn’t have the paperwork at that time. Sure.
Tim Elliot: I’m trying to sort of put myself in your shoes in a way because I know I’ve had two children. Well, I’ve not had two children.
My wife did the work.
She did heavy lifting for sure.
But you know, you’re in having a baby.
There’s a certain stress, I guess, relief that goes with that in a way as well.
But also in the back of your mind, you’re thinking I have to get the birth notification and have to go do the birth certificate as well.
I’m trying to sort of get a picture of how you you felt.

Lindsey:  Honestly, I really didn’t expect to have any problems with the birth certificate because at that stage,
you know, I had I had done my research.
I had spoken to Ludmila.
I had seen that the laws had changed.
I did know, you know, it was legal to give birth unmarried.
You know, the the the main thing was I wasn’t expecting Andrew to come along two weeks early. So, you know, I was literally at the hospital with my phone and that was it.
I didn’t even have my car. It was in the garage. So it was more of a I wasn’t expecting him.
So it was more of how am I going to get my baby me and my baby home and. And name him.
I was expecting him to be a girl. I hadn’t got a baby boy name ready.
So yeah, I don’t know that bit.

Ludmila Yamalova: Had you not done the gender identification early on or you actually told that it was going to be a girl?

Lindsey:  No, I was waiting for it.
I was surprised.
I didn’t know what I was having until you had a girl name.
And I was yeah, I had a girl’s name.
You know, I only had nine months to come up with a name, but I hadn’t gone round to the boys name part. I don’t think you can only name a child when you’ve seen it.
I kind of think you got to think, right?
Okay, you are a Andrew.
You are a, I don’t know, down.
You’re whatever that that’s my kind of thinking on it.
Yeah, I did have a list ready.
But I remember just after birth, you’re so your hormones are all over the place.
I was very indecisive.
It really, yeah, I guess when you said about how was I feeling that was my main thing.
What am I going to do?
I don’t think that’s unusual.

Tim Elliot: You’re not alone in that for sure.
So you give birth to Andrew.
You kind of know that you know your way around the process.
You’ve had a chat with Ludmila.
You have done some research.
You expect, you know, it’s going to start, you know, you have to start with the bureaucracy.
What did you do next?

Lindsey: You then have to go to a typing centre to apply for the birth certificate, I guess.
So I remember thinking I need to be very clear about the steps because once I’ve had my baby, you know, it’s going to be harder for me to work this out.
So I had written down all of the steps.
It was very, very clear from the podcast of what I needed to do to go and get the birth certificate myself. I probably didn’t write them clear enough because I actually went to the court first.
But I, I mean, Andrew was only, he wasn’t even three weeks old.
And I remember it was like, I’d only left the house a couple of times before that.
So, and it was the first time I’d left, you know, gone anywhere with him on my own.
So it is, it felt like a big deal to get him in the car, drive all the way over to the court.
And I went to the wrong court.
So when I got to the court, they sent me to a typing centre.
And then when I got to the typing centre, they sent me to the court.
But the different courts.
So, you know, Andrew’s in and out the car at this stage.
So then driving over to the, I can’t even remember which court, which court is it, the family court that I ended up at? Yes. The family court. Then when I arrived there, they tried to send me back to a typing centre. And by that point, I was, no, you know, I’ve been driving around for a few hours now with my son in andout the car.
And I need somebody to help me now to, because I’d also heard somebody else say when you go to the court,a previous, sorry, not previous, another mum who’d applied for a Roan Berset if she said when you go to the court, they’ll try and send you to the typing centre and just be very adamant.

Ludmila Yamalova: So, and just to give a little context to what you went through.
It’s fairly, it’s quite different from the context for married parents or for married mothers, because
for those who actually have that birth certificate, the whole process of the birth certificate is basically being managed through the hospital.
So there’s in fact a service or, yeah, there’s an agency or service that usually has fairly, if not formal, but well established relationship with the hospital. So they’ll just come to you and say, here, do you want us to apply for birth certificate for you? You just fill out the paper, you just fill out whatever the few forms for them, you pay them money and
they do everything for you. So when you leave the hospital, then that’s just to kind of give you a little bit of point of comparison, because what you went through is not an ordinary step for those who actually have a birth certificate, because for the rest, those with a birth certificate, the marriage certificate, for them, it’s just, it’s all being managed through the hospital.
Now that creates an impression for many people that it’s the hospital that issues the birth certificate, but it is never the hospital, it’s never been the hospital, it’s just the process being managed through the hospital for those who are lucky enough to have the marriage certificate.
But it’s actually issued by the Ministry of Health, the UAE Ministry of Health, but it’s the hospital that kind of, or the agent that works with the hospital that sort of manages the whole process. So what you had to do was very different from all other cases, because you were a single mom with an unknown father.
So that’s just to kind of give context of, you know, just having you having to go to the court is already
a fairly different process from others.
One and two, just for context, and those who are listening perhaps for this, to this, without understanding
the full, I guess, meaning of typing center, typing center is a little bit of a misnomer.
It sounds like somebody you go play, say, just they type for you, but in fact, the typing center, as
we refer to it in the UAE, is an offshoot from the court.
So it’s kind of like an outsource department of the court.
So whatever documents, whatever forms or applications that they so-called type for you, they submit and
that they have a direct link to the court.
So it’s not just a typing center, it’s basically a part of the court system.
So that’s just kind of clarification purposes for those who are listening and scratching their heads
trying to understand what is a typing center.
Like, I don’t know how to type, I don’t need to go to a typing center.
And why are they using typewriters?

Lindsey: I was aware of that.
I needed, you know, the hospital wasn’t going to be able to get the birth certificate, so I needed the
court to issue a letter to take to the Ministry of Health, which would then use to issue the certificate.
What wasn’t clear for me was, you know, do you go to the court, or is it the typing center that requests
the letter from the court?
That, and even with my visits, I wasn’t sure.

Ludmila Yamalova: Well, it might have actually been clear to you if you had listened to our podcast with Tim, and we had
covered this topic several times because in fact, up until that point in time, that was the way things were done, even for mothers with unknown father, which we had represented a few of such clients, and we had covered and had this story shared on this very podcast, Tim, right?
With mothers with unknown fathers, and we helped them issue birth certificate and so on and so forth. So the process actually that we covered, and that was perhaps still popular in our podcast, that it worked at the time.
So you’d actually go to the typing center, which you rightfully did, and then from there on, what you do is sort of an informal, rather, administrative request through the typing center for order and petition, and then they send it to the court for basically making a request for the court to issue a letter to the Ministry of Health, and the court says yes, and then you go with that letter to the Ministry of Health, and you get your birth certificate. That’s sort of what we had covered, and you were correct in how you approached this, because that’s what we had done successfully before for multiple clients, for multiple mothers in various similar circumstances,
even actually more, perhaps more challenging circumstances, and we know it worked.
And so that’s what we also covered in our podcast, and obviously you expected that that was going to be a fairly smooth process. We expected for it to be a smooth process.
This is why when you consulted with us, we gave you all the assurances that this is more of an administrative step at that point in time.
You just need to go to the typing center, and from there on, it’s just a matter of a few days, and you’ll have your birth certificate.
That’s sort of what you expected.
That’s what we expected for you.
And what did you ultimately encounter?

Lindsey: That’s exactly what I expected. Even saying, “Oh, the process is very simple,” you go to a typing center, you get the letter. When you’ve just had a baby, everything feels a bit overwhelming. Even just trying to find the location, park, get in there, find out which desk do I go to, I thought that was going to be the most difficult part of it, to be honest. When I arrived at each of the places and said I was there to get a birth certificate, the first thing they would ask is, “Where’s the father?” So I’d say, “There is no father.
That’s why I’m here to request the birth certificate.”
And they all said, “Oh, okay, yes, no problem.”
So I… They were supporting me and said, “No worries, don’t worry.
We’ll help you.
We’ll get the letter for you.”
And did you have a…
Up until this stage, I wasn’t…
I was expecting it to be able to go smoothly.
I was going to be able to get the birth certificate eventually, should I say, one way or the other, yeah.

Tim Elliot: Okay, so you’re backwards and forwards to the court a few times.
You made some applications with court reps.
So I’m going to go to my notes here because I want to get this exactly right.
February the 23rd, 2023.
The court issues a document called an “ishhad,” which is a certification or an affidavit.
And then in the “ishhad,” the court confirmed that you’d stated you’d given birth to a boy in Dubai on
February the 3rd, 2023.
And you declared to raise and supervise him and that you’d chosen the name Andrew for him.
Am I right so far?

Lindsey: You are, but I didn’t know that’s what it said because it was in Arabic.

Tim Elliot: Okay, so even more curveballs going here.
However, here’s another curveball.
You find in the same document the court declared that the court had given your son a different middlename and a different surname. Is that right? Yes.Which were… Oh, sorry. No, that was the name you gave and the court gave your son the name? Andrew Daniel Alfons. Okay. Is this the name of the Danish father? Who’s Alfons?

Lindsey: I have no idea. I’ve never heard that name before in my life. Daniel was Daniel.
Obviously the donor was anonymous. I don’t know any Daniel Alfons. It was a made-up name.
And I didn’t know.
No, like I said, they gave me a piece of paper with some short script on it in Arabic that I paid for. And then it was when I asked them, what does this say? They mentioned, oh, you know, you have guardianship of your son and we’ve named… He’s named Andrew and the court has given him a middle and surname. Right.
So you had chosen the name Andrew James Johnson and the court had given him a name Andrew Daniel Alfons.
And what did you feel at the time?
I really did not know what to do.
I sat there saying, I was very shocked, really shocked.
Just trying to understand from them why and saying, no, that’s not his name.
He needs to have my surname and not obviously not getting anywhere because he said that’s the name that
had been allocated to him by the court.
And what did the court or court representative say?
Did they explain how this new name came to be?
Just that I wasn’t allowed to give…
He wasn’t allowed to have my middle name and surname that I’d chosen for him and that he had to have
a middle name and surname chosen by the court.
And were you aware…I was on my own so I had no one else to…
And were you aware of anybody else who might have been experiencing the same thing?
No, this was the first time I’d ever heard anything like this.
That’s what I say.
I was very shocked.
It’s a real first.
Tim Elliot: I mean, Ludmila, if you heard of anybody that this has happened to, that a child could be randomly named if you come across this before?
Not until Lindsey came into our world.

Ludmila Yamalova: No, and in fact, we knew the opposite.
And as we have extensively covered on this very podcast and as we’ve extensively and on multiple occasions
helped our clients in real life to obtain birth certificates, not just in the Emirate of Dubai, but also
in perhaps at least arguably some more conservative Emirates like Abu Dhabi and even Fujairah.
We have represented mothers, single mothers with unknown fathers and helped them issue a birth certificate
issued with only the mother’s name on.
With the name that the mothers had selected, not only that, Tim, if you recall, and we, that’s one of the podcasts we have, perhaps that’s one of the more interesting ones for the likes of Lindsey’s story. And that’s where the, there was an original name that the mother had given to the baby because at the time it was still a crime to have a baby without a marriage certificate.
And so she was in a panic and she gave some name of some, somebody that, I think actually was not alive at the time. I suppose a father because she was in a panic and she was scared to lose her baby. She was scared of everything else.
And then kind of in the meantime, while she was trying to get the birth certificate, the laws had changed and it was no longer criminal to have a baby without a marriage certificate.
So at that point in time, she obviously wanted to change the name. She no longer needed to be worried or scared about coming up with a supposed father somewhere.
And so she wanted to give her own name. And so we even applied, but the birth notification stated name number one. And then we applied through the court to actually change that name to her chosen name. So we had gone through this process.
We know it and then we’ve had this person, you even appear on his podcast. So we know it worked. This is how it used to be. So your case was shocking to us. And I remember because you had come to us early on and now this was going to be a no brainer.
And I still remember when you reached out and just sort of in the panic, we were all panicking as well. I was like, what happened?

Lindsey: Well, yes.
And I was aware of those other situations.
And I thought, well, the name on the birth notification is the name I’m asking for.
And I just thought I had done something wrong, you know, that I had gone to the wrong place or I just thought there’s been a mistake here.
I’ve because I had, you know, when I was I was finding out what the process was, there was obviously people referring me to PROs that could do this for you.
It was it felt like quite a lot of money for after listening to your podcast, what felt like quite a
simple process. So I’ll save myself some money.
I need that for the nappy. So I’ll do this myself. So I just thought, oh, maybe I should have maybe I was in the wrong place. Maybe I’ve said the wrong thing.
There’s something lost in translation here.
And I by this point, it was nearly three o’clock.
The court was about to close.
I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere.
So I left with that bit of paperwork still like a bit shocked and worried, but really thinking it was
a mistake that was that we could, you know, that I could get fixed somehow.

Ludmila: And in fact, that’s exactly what we felt as well.
When you came to us, we just thought, well, surely, well, with all due respect, but Lindsey doesn’t speak Arabic. You know, she’s a new mom.
She had just delivered a baby. She’s probably hormonal.
She probably went to the wrong court, the wrong department.
All that. We just, we thought the same thing was surely something was lost in translation and somebody misunderstood and gave her the wrong document or she just went to the wrong person. That was literally thinking at this point, everybody’s thinking typing center couldn’t type or something similar.
It’s as simple as that.

Tim Elliot: But there was more to it than that.

Ludmila Yamalova:  Indeed.
And so then one of the things that Lindsey did when she reached out to us, she obviously sent us the document that shocked her when it was first issue, which is this where the baby’s name was something other than what she had chosen.
And that document, we started researching and realized as you, Tim, rightfully said in your perfect Arabic ishhad in that system. It’s my perfect Arabic too.
So it’s the first time that we saw this document and the translation in from Arabic to English is certification or affidavit.
We had never seen a document like that in the context of, in particular, in the context of a non-Muslim person. This is why early on I said, you’re your religion actually in this case does actually matter. We had once upon a time heard or sort of come across something similar in the context of a Muslim woman
who was trying to have a baby without a marriage certificate.
And so that word Ishadd or it’s just certificate or affidavit came up in the context more of like sharia law. So that we had kind of known very loosely to the back of our minds, but we had never actually seen a document issued in the context of a non-Muslim western mother.
So we were all kind of also scratching our heads thinking as a mistake somebody.
So she must have gone to the wrong court clerk or representative who was confused and thinking she was Muslim.
And we have seen that as well sometimes that there’s some person is by mistake it’s designated a Muslim in the system and let’s say official system and as a result kind of everything else from there goes as if that person was Muslim and their IE, the sharia law would apply.
So we were, I mean that was at that point when Lindsey came to us we were thinking the same thing. It’s just a mistake from typing center clerk or typing center made a mistake and all we need to do is just correct it.
And yeah and it will basically be sort of a fairly simple process and just for those who are curious in terms of what this document specifically states and it’s more or less a loose translation from Arabic. It’s like this the court, so basically the court continues the baby’s name in preparation for his identification documents making his full name Andrew Daniel Alfons.
And we issue this Ishadd for it to be operated on this basis.
So basically that’s kind of what that document that Lindsey is referring to what it stated.
So yeah so it wasn’t just the it wasn’t just kind of a form it’s actually an official document with fairly official and detailed language if you will. So it was we realized it was not it was not a mistake and that the court ultimately specifically stated that the court is the one who had continued Andrew’s name to be Daniel Alfons.
Lindsey: I recall at this stage this was when I was aware I would need to take this letter to the Ministry of Health to get the birth certificate and obviously very conscious that I need to get Andrew’s passport and his visa because by a certain time I was then going to start facing up.
I was then going to start facing overstay fines for him. But there was you know I was thinking do I go get the birth certificate and then fix it or do I fix it
now so I’m I’m I’m glad I reached out at that stage to and you’re right. I got the birth certificate issued and this is a very good point because you’re right at that point in
time you have this official document from the court is that’s called Ishadd with this document you could have gone to the Ministry of Health and you they would have issued your birth certificate with the name Andrew Daniel Alfons and then from there on you would have been able to apply for your for the passport base passport and the baby’s residency so you’re correct.
So in terms of the process it could have ended by then and so I guess process could have been simple if you did not mind having your baby having somebody else’s name.
I did have an issue with the surname not being the same as mine though I had a feeling this would lead to I mean first of all that’s not what I wanted it’s not what I chose but even if I had accepted it I think travelling as a single mother with a baby with a different surname to myself and no ability to
get an NOC from the father to say that was OK I thought was going to cause me problems.

Ludmila Yamalova: Yes and so I trust me I my kids obviously have their dad’s name and I didn’t and I have my own maiden
name so even me as a married woman with you with sort of a marriage certificate and all I always think
about that when I travel because my kids have a very different name for my name a very very very Slavic name they have very very sort of Latin names and so it is it’s actually it is a true consideration and
furthermore there are certain countries where if you travel alone with your child they require additional documents like you said an NOC from the father or some kind of an affidavit from the father for example
so it is important that the name matches you because it could be complicated even with with all the documents in place.
It’s already complicated enough situation in a way isn’t it so you I mean if you can make life easy make
it easy would be my kind of look at a way of looking at this so what would the minute what do you do when your baby has a different name that you didn’t allocate for one of a better.
Well for us a drawing in our previous experience when I might as I might add once again a successful experience we thought okay well we can fix this by virtue of filing a request to the court that is administrative
in nature and that’s called the order on petition and we’ve covered this particular subject and on this very podcast several times because it’s although it sounds like it’s you’re still going through the court it’s still a request to the court but it’s not your typical substantive case where you have hearings and parties being served and submissions being made on both fronts so it’s an order on petition is what’s called in legal terms an administrative request to the court that’s being done ex-party which means without serving the other side. So it’s it’s in that we have used this very tool to apply for birth certificates and even changing the
name from the birth notification with the courts and you know you submit it and the whole definition it’s of the order on petition is that the court must issue a decision within a day or two from the time that the file is accepted.
And so that was our our our plan was okay this is going to be that’s not a big deal we will change this by asking filing this order and petition to the court and requesting for the court to change the name to Andrew James Johnson as the mother had wanted to and submitted on through Lindsey’s court portal and
that was going to basically be kind of the end of it so we expected knowing that this is that you here you don’t necessarily have you don’t need to serve the other side because there is really kind of no other side and submitted online and we expected an answer within just a few days and so by the time by that time by the time Lindsey came to us and we had kind of you know this after you had gone back and forth between the different government departments and after you came to us and we had kind of studied this Ishadd idea and try to figure out where that came from and whether there was a mistake or whether this was intentional and how to potentially correct it so now we’re talking about April so April 24 we so this order on petition was finally registered and so this is already how many months the thing three four months into into Andrew’s birth and so three months so he’s already three months old he doesn’t
have a birth certificate yet and we register this order on petition and then as it was expected in April and as it was expected in cases of order on petition within just a few days the court responded and so here in this case was April 26 only two days later the court responded and rejected to our own surprise rejected our order on petition and instructed us to file a substantive case and a substantive case a case and for under full jurisdiction.

Tim Elliot : I can’t imagine Lindsey how you’re feeling at this point but I want to understand what a substantive
case is and what the difference between an order on petition and a substantive cases and unexpected this
is the word that comes to my mind.
I think it was unexpected to all.

Ludmila Yamalova: Yeah well I mean it was unexpected for us because we have done this before successfully and we just thought
okay fine well there’s a mistake made somewhere we can correct it we know the tools we’ve used them before
successfully it’s not going to be a big deal.

Lindsey: I recall now that actually the order on petition was from your earlier podcast the process to go for to apply for the best if it gets a single mother and and by the time I had given birth to Andrew the laws had changed again and everyone’s like it’s even easier for you to get the best if it can now you you can just go to the type in central to get the letter to take to the Ministry of Health without the order on petition so when when that didn’t work and I came back to Ludmila and they mentioned the order
on petition I was like okay this this you know we just revert him back to the other process this will work.

Ludmila Yamalova: You in your right sense after this is a good a good reminder that yes order on petition previously worked
before the laws on the issuance of registration of birth certificates in the U.A.E. had changed so in that
case we ultimately figured out that what we needed to do is we still needed to go to the court for single
mothers with unknown fathers to apply for birth certificate but we could do it through the order on petition
and that’s kind of what we had discussed in our previous podcast and then by the time we got to the
time you delivered you’re correct that law on registration of birth certificates had changed and it made
it a lot in the law that is it made it a lot simpler to apply for birth certificates under your circumstances
which was basically a declaration from the mother and you would do this declaration through a typing
center so going back to this typing center so how it should have worked on the basis of this new by the
way federal law it’s not a new by a lot the federal federal law on the registration of birth certificates.
Lindsey should have just gone to the typing center issued a declaration to the typing center basically
and the declaration would have been on the mother.
This is my baby and I name my baby such and such name and then the typing center would have submitted
the declaration to the court and the court would have issued the letter to Moab or the ministry of health.
So that’s sort of what we expected and but as Lindsey rightfully said her process did not work so we
thought okay well maybe this is still a very new law it was only issued in 2022 perhaps the authority
is still learning the application of this law and so let’s kind of revert back to the previous method
which is a slightly more involved by virtue of this order of petition instead of just a simple declaration
that should have been issued even through the notary public or the typing center so I thought we thought
okay let’s just go back and use the tool that we know for sure works and that’s the order of petition
but that to our surprise did not work for us and the court rejected it.
Okay so we go to a substantive order how does that work?
Well it’s imagined so we talked about order of petition and even though it’s a court process but it’s
really it’s not really your court case it’s not fair to call order of petition a court case because it’s
more just a request to the court and there’s not really back and forth going to arguing and such.
So substantive case is something very different substantive case is sort of what we all think of when
you think oh there’s a court case you know I’m filing a court case or a court case is be filed against
me that’s what a substantive case is so now it’s no longer ex parte meaning that you need to serve the
other side so there is a claimant and there’s a defendant and the parties need to be served in particular
the claimant needs to serve the defendant of this court case so it’s like a formal service of process.
Basically stating that I’m suing you because that’s what the case is all about and then you have court
hearings and parties are meant to make submissions and arguments against each other so remember a substantive
case you have a claimant and the defendant if you just think about that alone so you have basically parties
on opposite sides right because that’s when you go to court case when you have parties that are at odds
with one another.
Sure so you’re trying to resolve difference and the claimant is obviously Lindsey who’s the defendant.
Yeah well we had to scratch our head for a little while and figure out who the defendants should be and
by the way this kind of took us back a little bit as well because when the law had originally changed
on this this very topic in 2020.
So you recall back then we when we were figuring out how to file these cases we we had gone through a
whole list of parties we may potentially name in cases like this so we thought about what if we just
named the court what we named the Ministry of Health that was back in 2020 right so now we’re in 2023
so we’ve moved on and but it kind of took us back down the memory lane and we started thinking well who
do we name now so we kind of had to revisit our knowledge bank from back that time.
And we ultimately thought okay so why don’t we just we don’t want to name any government officials or
authorities because that may take us into a different process of jurisdiction.
And so we thought okay let’s name Lindsey so she’ll be both the claimant and the defendant and because
I mean who else can you name a defendant so it’s like Lindsey basically against herself.
So that’s how we so we filed this and and that was basically kind of shortly thereafter we filed this
kind of request to the court and so Lindsey is suing Lindsey.
And for ultimately requested the court to issue and correct the name of the baby and issue a letter to
the Ministry of Health for the birth certificate.
So yeah and that’s basically what the difference between order and petition and a substantive case I
mean one of the other case the other differences obviously are the hearings and and submissions and and
the time as well.
And so in that case is what then we filed the court the court actually scheduled I think a hearing two
or three months out from the time we filed and well that again you know at this point I think we’re fine.
You know at this point I think we’re four months into into the baby’s birth and so we asked the court
to pre-pwn the hearing and which anyway so with the court ultimately did but before then so our Lindsey’s
filing was substantive case against herself was also rejected.
And the court requested for us to actually name Andrew her baby as a defendant.
Right OK I’m following this I’ve just got to get this straight in my in my mind so let me just come to
you for a second is he this is four months down the road.
Andrew is obviously four months old.
How are you feeling at this.
Yeah frustrated worried.
I remember I was looking in in parallel.
What could the UK do for me is there any way I could get a birth certificate through them the passport
I didn’t want you know or if I got the birth certificate in the wrong name could I still get a passport
in the name I chose to get his visa in the name I wanted like.
So I was trying to work out what my options were if this wasn’t going to get resolved.
So I mean established procedure to get a UK passport if you have a baby born here I remember from doing
it my son’s 20.
I first did it for him but it was a birth certificate from the UAE which at that time there was no service
you had to do it but that was your penalty as a father for not giving birth at the time kind of thing.
And then you go to the pre-set to see and present documents which you can’t do.
Exactly so.
I remember I would have been able to get a passport and like an emergency situation.
But I was never I would never have been able to get a birth certificate.
I could register the birth in the UK but because I didn’t give birth there it was I was never going to
be able to get a UK birth certificate.
So then I would have had a situation with a passport with one name and a birth certificate with another.
I knew I was never going to get the visa so I I knew that wasn’t an option.
If I was either going to end up with a certificate with the wrong name and then I’d have had to get a
passport and a visa or you know everything else all of his identification document in that name or hold
out and un-hope.
My concern I still remember deep down really having the confidence and the faith that we would get there.
I just was worried about how long it was going to take because at this point I can’t travel.
He like I was lucky that I did actually manage to get his health insurance because most most companies
wouldn’t actually have given Andrew any health insurance without any identification.
So you know I was facing long overstay fines for him.
You know his health insurance was one thing and I wasn’t able to make any plans and if anything had happened
to my family I wasn’t able to just get on a plane.
I felt quite trapped and plus it was coming up to summer during my maternity I wasn’t expecting to stay
here as well.
So it was very yeah like kind of up in the air stay.
It was yeah it was very difficult.
And on top of being a new mum and dealing with probably lack of sleep as well.
Standard state of affairs.
So you eventually the court accepts your request to prepone the hearing.
A new hearing date is set for June the 22nd.
Yes that’s correct.
That’s from the original date that was set for August and we and the substantive case was first registered
in June and June one and then the hearing was set for August.
And so that’s when we requested for it to be preponed.
And so the court thankfully gave us the June 22nd date as a new date.
And then just if I may just kind of pause there for a second.
It’s going back to what Lindsey said about what her options were until then what she was considering
because we actually are also aware of some other mothers who have ended up going with whatever the birth
certificate stated to their home country.
And they’re correcting the name or changing the name for their babies.
But different countries we also heard cases like this but different countries have different laws and
not all allow for the change of name.
And even when you do have a change of name it’s still you often have this sort of a whole chain of documents
that you need to show there’s an original birth certificate and the amended birth certificate and so
on and so forth.
So it’s very complicated but we have heard of people considering were discussing that very option.
And so I agree with Lindsey that just in we had advised similar things to other clients before that you
better just fix it if you can fix it at the outset fix it at the outset because at that point after that
it’d be so much more complicated and the baby may have maybe stuck with these issues for the rest of
their life. and explain their original name of the birth certificate, versus the amended name, versus
the passport and residence visa and so on so forth.
So yes.
I was also a concern about Andrew was going to grow up, find this out and think I was hiding something
from him.
You know that he did actually have a dad out there called James Johnson somewhere and you know I was
making up a different story for him so yeah there was quite a lot to consider with with what I went and
I do remember we spoke and I was very aware that once I got that UAE birth certificate issued it was
going to be impossible to change that the actual UAE birth certificate name.
No, no I can understand that because I mean that’s a that’s a document for life isn’t it in theory.
So the court hearing is set to hear the substantive case for Lindsey to appear.
Andrew is the defendant.
Is it online?
Is it a personal?
How does that work?
Right so but I do want to say one more thing as Lindsey was talking about how she was on the one hand
worried on the other hand she was confident that we would we would be able to sort it out for her which
she perhaps is not so aware of how we took it internally.
We were so incredibly worried I mean literally our whole team and and my colleague Hanan who is the brains
behind all of this and she was the one who had been researching and figuring out how to connect all the
dots but we also took it so personally and to heart her case.
Well she doesn’t know about that I mean like you know I don’t know to what extent you do but I think
Hanan kept it like very hidden from me.
I appreciate that I think afterwards she kind of told me about some of the story she’d gone to and I
was like oh I appreciate that I didn’t actually know all the problems she had faced as well you know
behind all the other little avenues you’d looked at.
Yeah it’s the problems but also it’s the emotional investment we were so invested because it was so different
a from what we knew when we had done b contrary to what the laws actually stated and what we expected
and then c just at a human level we just I mean this is so difficult you know we’re just we’re only human
here so we really took her case to heart all of us here and we felt so emotional and every time we had
to set back like this it really really took us on an emotional roller coaster and we really I mean we
shed tears here.
I don’t know how much Lindsey knows about this but in particular Hanan and TFO 4.
Yeah and so and we and we were determined and we even took this case ultimately we said listen Lindsey
we just we’re not making money on this we cannot charge you more for this because we cannot we cannot
just justify it based on where you are and based on kind of you know where we are in terms of the legal
the challenges because it shouldn’t be this way so just so we’ll do it for you just because we want to
see this through from the intellectual from everybody was invested in this and that yeah you’re all part
of Hanju’s family together We gave birth to him together!
Sisters unite!
We thought he only had one parent!
Little does he have one!
I’m fist pumping at the moment!
But it’s hard not to get invested emotionally in something like this isn’t it because I’m getting emotionally
invested in this but you know you have this picture of the hard-headed lawyers just go to court and but
it’s not like that in this case.
It’s not like that and also because I mean let’s face it I’m also a mom I delivered to kids here and
I know what it’s like because ultimately this is not our home country right in the sense of we’re not
nationals or citizens of this country which means that we depend on all sorts of documents right I would
get there’s no pension system here there’s no like so security there is no you can’t ask the government
to cover you for this and that and you can’t just live here without a passport birth certificate and
a passport for for decades as you would in your home country right today you know you don’t have birth
certificate you know a passport I mean how many Americans for example live their whole lives without
having a passport issued and that’s not it’s not an event but here because it is we’re still we’re all
residents here I know what it’s like as Lindsey Wright will said if you don’t have that birth certificate
you don’t have the passport you don’t have the pass we don’t have the residency that means you cannot
leave the country that at some point in time your health insurance I mean maternity insurance should
cover the baby at least for at least three months after birth and but what if you know if it every day
that it takes beyond that point you worry as well well what if something what about vaccines for the
baby was something that’s a bit word to happen to the baby are you your is there a medical coverage is
there medical insurance and we’ve had these cases as well from a lot of people said we don’t have we
cannot afford to go and get the baby vaccines because we’re not covered by insurance so these are very
emotional and very personal issues and and they you know they’ve worried us and we were all very emotionally
invested as well okay so now you have a hearing and that’s an online hearing am I right yes so at this
point and this was one of the we’ve covered it on this podcast many times before the UAE had really embraced
the digital world to our delight as legal practitioners because it made things a lot more efficient in
terms of submitting documents appearing in court in hearings because including everything else the most
of the court hearings were online so which made it a lot more efficient so in this particular hearing
as well by the way when the court finally preponed they had issued the date for the hearing and in the
documents themselves it said online hearing and but we thought well this would be better for Lindsey
to actually be there in the courtroom despite the fact the documents themselves said that it was an online
hearing is just that it’s such a human story and it’s such a such a personal story we just thought it
would be better for Lindsey to be in the courtroom when this is happening irrespective of you know what
the sort of we figured even if she means she she’s meant to appear and like on the throat online system
but she’s in the court physically that will be better so so we recommended to her to go out in person
and we said well well Hanan offered to be to accompany her and Hanan was there with her as well and and
so and we also encouraged Lindsey and well I guess encouraged gonna have to perhaps bring Andrew with
her as well nobody to leave him with a choice but to bring him anyway so yeah so so so then Lindsey came
there with with Andrew and and interesting enough the judge appeared online and perhaps Lindsey can you
describe to us or experience a little better so while we collectively appeared there in person in fact
the judge was appearing on online so I mean Lindsey can perhaps describe how that was but but you know
it was a little bit of a surreal experience in the way we are we’re sort of online but we are kind of
halfway physically somewhere present and and we you know this has become more or less kind of a sort
of not an uncommon event in terms of court appearances but you know for Lindsey showing up there with
with her baby who is at this point only four months old yeah I’m definitely glad that Hanan was there
for I just was recalling when you said about the even the online applications you know or now like messaging
me at 10 o’clock at night asking for OTPs and that to register it but she you know Hanan at least had
told me what to expect we did have to wait a long time before we went into the court and she had explained
that the judge would be would not be in the room himself and he would be online because that was a bit
I walked into a room I know there was two guys behind like a podium but you know higher up a bench yeah
quibbing bench and you know I was asked to approach like a small little camera like you see at the airport
and I remember thinking they were going to take my picture for some documentation so I’m smiling and
then suddenly the judge starts talking to me from it so yeah I wasn’t you know I wasn’t clear on what
the the roles were of the two men in the room either but they I think they were documenting them or minuting
the what the judge was saying yeah and then the judge to that point asked you where the name Andrew Daniel
Alfons came from right and whether that that’s the name that you had chosen for the baby and at that
point I guess you confirmed that that was not your name that you had not chosen and you don’t know how
that name came to be and then you asked for the judge to change the the name and then I guess you again
you can tell us better but this is from our perspective in the judge said he but he will issue decision
on that same day but yes yes the judge didn’t actually say too much to be honest he did ask exactly as
you said he asked me if that was a chosen it it was more I think he thought or it felt like he thought
I was there saying I’ve changed my mind about what I want to call him I don’t want to call him Andrew
Daniel Alfons anymore I want to call him Andrew James Johnson so once I explained that no Andrew James
Johnson was always the name I wanted I’d never requested Daniel Alfons he was meant you know speaking
in Arabic the guys were typing that up and then at the end he said you know will issue a decision though
I can’t recall exactly what he said but I remember feeling confident that it the judge was okay with
it you know that he was I mean you know what’s been amazing to me is throughout the last we’ve been talking
for well over an hour but you you are so the only word is chilled about this and I guess it’s it’s easy
to look back now that things are where they are but you seem to be very you’ve said a couple of times
I was confident it was gonna go your way you have a very positive attitude towards this but it must have
been surprising for a Brit isn’t it?
well I guess I was like something will get there in the end yeah yeah yeah but it must have been nerve-wracking
being just being in front of the judge even if it was just a camera and you thought they were taking
you for a time I was by that point up I was confident everything but I must admit about a week two weeks
before I started to get really paranoid I remember messaging because I was thinking yes we know about
you know single moms being unmarried but what about the IVF part I really started getting paranoid about
oh it maybe there’s going to be an issue with the fact that I did IVF and maybe that’s not legal and
even though I didn’t do it in the country maybe there’s gonna be a real problem around that I became
so paranoid you know it’s really why why are we going through this exception you know this different
process why like I still couldn’t understand why Andrew had been given this random name like so because
I didn’t have that answer and I wasn’t really sure what the problem was I started to get paranoid okay
that you know oh okay I’m gonna get in trouble I’m gonna get deported maybe I’ll get put in jail I brought
a friend just in case I was really really got paranoid at that point yeah you’re paranoid you thought
that they would take your baby away and I didn’t think that but I thought they might take me away yeah
yeah and then yeah I’m single mom what would they do is with Andrew I don’t know it’s I mean it’s yeah
so that’s the state in which she walked into this sort of courtroom and the courtroom where you kind
of have some real people but not really and you kind of have a judge but not really yeah yeah a number
of cases before us yeah but but how did how was the judge how was that I mean did you feel that the judge
put your knees a little bit or nervous he was making you know he was being very complimentary towards
Andrew I can’t remember what he said exactly but he was very like oh very cuz Andrew jumping up and down
on the bench in front of the camera so he was like something along the lines of him be a very cute baby
and I mean as I said asked if that was the name I wanted to give him once I explained the name I did
want to give it was it felt very like he was typing up I came issue a letter for the right name that’s
how I felt when I left okay and you when the judge was much the judge clearly put you ease and liked
Andrew and like the fact that you were there and you must have been that must have been a relief yeah
it was a relief I remember it expecting her nan on my friend to be allowed to come in with me because
I had a feeling it was gonna be an Arabic and I wanted somebody that I knew to be able to translate to
me but that wasn’t allowed so that was my only thing was like I there was a lot said that I didn’t know
okay so at that point but the judge did state I’m not sure if you recall this but that they that he will
issue a decision on that same day so Lindsey goes home with Andrew and we go back into our office and
we start looking the system trying to this is the blessings of the online systems checking the system
just compulsively refreshing refreshing but Hanan in particular okay so when will the decision come forward
and then based on Lindsey’s overall feedback about what the judge had said and and the comments and she
clearly walked out of the courtroom a lot more to ease which is a positive sign so we’re all kind of
holding our fists and like fingers crossed that we’re all very hopeful and yet the decision is not coming
so I remember all day Hanan particularly just losing her mind obsessive refreshing the system trying
to see when the decision would come forward yeah I think it was her message in me I was still not heard
yet still not heard yet I’m checking yeah and then later on that same day on that was June 22nd of 2023
at 10 p.m.
I remember it was very late yeah yes at 10 p.m.
Hanan after her I probably her finger was like blistering at that point in time trying to refresh the
system at the final at 10 p.m. the judge the decision came out and again that’s the blessing of the Dubai
sort of online system and this digital embrace of in for government services so we could do that you
didn’t have to wait until the next day to go to the court and get a copy of the decision it’s you know
these decisions were coming forward they’re being populated however the system works but yes at 10 p.m.
the decision became available and and so and then we so the decision stated one is that that same document
Ishadd as we recall that actually so the court issued a decision or an order canceling the Ishadd okay
so canceling not just amending it but canceling it and saying that and that Andrew’s name is now Andrew
James Johnson as named by his mother so that’s basically the decision but think about how huge that is
because remember we talked about this whole idea of Ishadd that we didn’t expect it I mean Ishadd is
we’ve seen that the term come up in the context of sharia law application of sharia law which does not
apply to Lindsey so and then and then as we’re trying to figure out what had happened to Lindsey we were
all scratching our heads and kind of questioning and this is why we thought this is a mistake it’s a
mistake Ishadd should not be issued here and but we were being told by the same court representatives
in that you know this is the right document so having then seen the courts that this is judges decision
expressly canceling the shah it gave us tremendous I guess confidence in ourselves once again that all
along our understanding of the law was correct so it wasn’t just the judge said we are can’t we were
amending the shah to the name that the mother had chosen no no no the court said we are canceling a shah
altogether because the idea of Ishadd said he said that the court named the child right and that usually
happens basically and that’s perhaps a little bit of a legal nuance but Ishadd is issued in cases typically
where the aren’t the parents are unknown and this is where the court would act as a guardian and then
name the child so so seeing that the court the judge express the canceling this shah it just gave us
huge huge sense of relief and just and justification sense of of justification and kind of confirmation
that our understanding and our interpretation of the law was was see.
Welcome to part two.
So, we are at the point where the judge issues a judgment.
Ludmila, it came out at 10 o’clock in the evening.
You’re all blistered from refreshing the webpage to try and get the resolution.
And it’s really interesting to me that this is what the judge said in terms of the name, Andrew’s name.
He stated, “Look, Andrew James Johnson is a name more favorable to the child.
As it is his way of identifying with his mother and her family.
And that the surname may carry nobility and history that benefits him.
Essentially, completely overturning what had been written in the Ishad.
On the one hand, overturning.
On the other hand, confirming all the concerns and all sort of thought process that we discuss here,
and for Lindsey in particular in her circumstances being a single mom, and having to travel with her
child for the rest of his life.
So, yeah, the continuity obviously of the family history and the family name is so much more important
in her circumstances.
So, having this judge not only expressly cancel Ishad, but also expressly confirming that the baby’s
name will be as the mother had chosen for him, Andrew James Johnson, and that the reasoning is because
it’s a fairly substantive decision and reasoning.
That’s because this name having the mother’s choice of name is much more beneficial for the baby, much
more favorable because it would allow him and the mother to obviously have a much more predictable and
life on the one hand, but also allow for the baby.
I mean, the words such as the surname may carry nobility and history that benefits him.
I mean, think about it.
It’s pretty interesting because ultimately the judge is saying, “Well, who knows?
Maybe Lindsey is some kind of royalty here for all we know.”
So, if the baby has some kind of lower blood in him, he should benefit from it.
So, yeah, it’s not just, “Okay, we authorize the change of name.”
It’s a fairly illegal term, a substantive and nuanced and well-reasoned decision.
Well, it is.
And it’s also the judge essentially saying, “Lindsey, this little boy needs a sense of self and recognizing
Is that how that made you feel?
Up until this point, I’d started to feel like his own identity wasn’t considered that important.
And actually, maybe there’s a way around, it’s just a name and I can accept it, which I was very uncomfortable
So, having that kind of reinforcing what we’ve been thinking and saying all along was definitely reassuring.
So, it’s 10 o’clock at night.
You get that news.
Hopefully, you got a good night’s sleep that night.
I don’t know.
Full month old baby.
They’ve all learned into what, I’m sure.
So, Lidmila, landmark decision, the judge rules as you could only have hoped he would rule, birth certificate
on the way the next day.
Is that what happened?
Well, so we thought.
That’s not what happened.
No, it’s not what happened.
That would have been too easy.
Indeed, yes.
There would not have been a full story.
So, no, so the next day, we thought, “Okay, well, let’s strike the iron while it’s hot, and then take
this court letter and go to the Ministry of Health and have them issue the birth certificate as per the
court order.”
So, I remember it’s not just a letter.
It’s a court decision.
It’s a court order.
It’s a judgment.
So, with this judgment at hand, Hanan run to Mohap or the Ministry of Health.
And then she’s running because we’re approaching Eid.
Oh, that’s right.
It’s the following week.
That’s right.
That was June 23rd.
You’re correct.
So, she runs, just trying to kind of seize the moment and apply for Andrew’s birth certificate.
But, no, once again, we encountered another little stumbling block, another surprise.
So, the Ministry of Health informed us that Andrew’s birth certificate application now will have to be
approved by the Ministry of Health Certificate Committee.
So, and that’s for their sign off and approval on the issuance of the birth certificate.
And we have seen this before, in particular, in a case of single mothers where you don’t just go to —
normally with, I guess, both parents present and go to the Ministry of Health to submit the application
and they issue your birth certificate right there on the spot.
In those cases of single mothers, we knew that there was a step where the committee would meet and then
the committee would ultimately approve.
And we discussed this in previous podcasts as well.
So, the committee would finally issue their decision.
So, but that practice, once again, we thought had been the thing of the past.
And so, we didn’t expect for it because, again, the laws in terms of the issuance of the birth certificate
had changed by this time.
So, the laws do not provide for any kind of meeting of the committee and the approval required from the
We have a court judgment and that’s it.
Then court judgment issues ultimately in order to the Ministry of Health stating police issue the birth
certificate for this name.
So, that was surprising to us as well.
It wasn’t just like the regular step where the — just the Ministry of Health would issue the birth certificate
right there on the spot, which is what we expected.
And now we needed to wait for the meeting of the committee.
We just missed a committee, haven’t we?
Are they every two weeks?
Yes, yes.
And so, the committee meets twice a month and so, we had just missed it.
So, anyway, so, at that point, all we could do is just leave the letter with them, the judgment with
them, and wait for the committee to meet and issue the approval.
And, you know, hopefully two weeks later, we would be hearing back from them with already a birth certificate.
So, how long did it take for you to get a positive decision?
Because I’m looking at both of you thinking they still didn’t run, so we did it.
So, two weeks into it, when the committee finally met, we heard back and so, and they said, basically,
they needed additional documents.
In other words, the committee had not given us their approval and sign off for the issuance of the birth
In fact, they requested that we obtain a letter from the court confirming that this June 22 judgment,
which we’re trying on the basis of which we’re trying to get the birth certificate issued, was final
and enforceable.
And so, that’s another surprise.
Another surprise, especially because the new birth certificate law does not, A, require for the meeting
of the committee, and B, does not really kind of anticipate for the committee to have conditions attached
to the issuance of the sort of court decision.
And certainly C, I don’t know where this came from, that the confirmation that the judgment of the court
was final and enforceable.
So, you have to get a letter, and that’s got to be just a technicality.
Surely, that’s just go to the court.
You’ve got the decision.
You get the letter, it gets signed, and then you go back.
So, we thought.
But no, once again, that wasn’t — This is turning into a Netflix show.
So, basically, with these new instructions at hand, we went back to the court, and that was around July
27th, and we went to the court to request this letter.
And since, in this particular case, you know what, I remember the letter was supposed to be final, and
it’s enforceable, i.e., it’s not challenged.
Well, but since, in this case, the claimant is the mother, and the defendant is the baby, who is going
to challenge the decision.
So, obviously, it is final and enforceable.
So, it just kind of the whole premise of the instructions were somewhat difficult to reconcile from a
logical standpoint.
So, we leased with the Dubai courts to obtain this certificate confirming that the judgment is final
and enforceable.
However, that, too, was not the end of the road, and the Dubai courts admin team basically kept rejecting
our request multiple times.
So, we kept requesting the certification, this judgment is final and enforceable, and we just kept getting
rejection after rejection after rejection.
And without any explanation, and this is where perhaps you kind of, in a way, is a little bit of a drawback
in terms of this online system, because all you get, you get the decisions very quickly published, which
is great, except that in many cases, just rejected, and there’s nothing else.
There’s no reasoning behind it.
And these rejections, because what we’re asking for is more of an administrative document stating that
the judgment is final.
So, it’s actually being issued not by the judge, but by the admin team, so the admin representatives
of the court.
So, that’s why, and all they need to say, they don’t need to issue a judgment explaining why they’re
requesting this and what the process is, they just basically can say reject.
And so, we just kept getting, and we’re trying to figure out what we’re doing wrong, what we were, what
were we sort of not submitting, and then, and ultimately, we, I think we could not even go into the court
to try to understand what was going on.
And so, ultimately, the Dubai courts stated that the certificate cannot be issued, this certificate of
finality cannot be issued because the defendant was not served of the judgment.
And the defendant in this case is who?
I think I’ve been protected from this part.
I know there was a lot of, this was the back and forth that I wasn’t aware of, you know.
So, and that’s, yeah, that’s, there’s a lot more that went on here.
So, I’m trying to work out how you would serve a four or five month old baby with it.
It doesn’t work.
And so, so we attempted to submit this multiple sort of requests to the court to obtain the certificate
without basically ticking this box that yes, the defendant or Andrew had been served.
And, and, and also because there is from a legal standpoint, if we had affected the service, and you
know, by just taking that box, yes, the service had been done, then we would have to wait for another
30 days from the day of service for the judgment to become final.
So, it’s a bit of a legal nuance.
And this is why we’re trying to avoid having to tick this, what may otherwise appear a very just administrative
kind of a formal requirement of just taking the box, yes, the service has been affected.
But had we ticked that box, we would have had to wait for another 30 days to effectively get this judgment
to become effect final by virtue of not being contested or challenged.
So, and, you know, obviously these additional 30 days would have been detrimental for Andrew and Lindsey
because by this time it had already been five months from the time that Andrew had been born.
So, and at this point, he still doesn’t have a birth certificate.
He doesn’t have a passport.
He doesn’t have residency.
He’s overstaying.
So, even two days would have been too long, but 30 days would have certainly were not kind of acceptable
to us.
So, time for a new approach.
I suppose what did you do?
And this is again, flopping in terms of the benefits and sometimes perhaps more limited drawbacks of
the online system, more benefits, way more benefits than sort of shortcomings.
But so there is a system again, this Hanan is the brainchild.
This is her brainchild.
I mean, really she had to put on a lot of kind of thinking and creative hat in this case, to try to figure
out the innovative and kind of out of the box ways of continuing to challenge what seemed like sort of
a status quo.
And so she decided that let’s request because, you know, we couldn’t get through to the judge.
All we were getting sort of, we’re getting blocked by the admin team, which just kept us rejecting our
So we thought, okay, let’s make a request on the system to meet the judge.
And so there is that kind of request you can make on the online system is just basic to meet the judge.
And we were in requesting this, we stated that this was very important for the baby.
And in the timing is of the issue of the essence.
And we also stated that it was unnecessary for us to serve Andrew of the judgment and then wait for 30
days since, you know, he is that’s the birth certificate is for him.
So that’s kind of where you see really the peculiarity, if you will, of having this claimant and defendant
case, right, which is what we started with.
This is why having to file a substantive case where you have a claimant and defendant, this is how these
issues can come to be.
So you, the reason you usually have this requirement of certificate of finality is just to make sure
that the judgment is not appealable.
But that usually happens when you have your sides on two parties on the opposite side of the table, right,
conflicting parties.
And so the the other defendant would or whatever the party would not challenge the judgment.
But here the so-called defendant is the baby for whom we’re trying to obtain the birth certificate.
So anyway, so that’s us.
We explain all that to the judge in our request to meet the judge.
And anyway, and then also stated that in any event, the judge met Andrew, met the baby, which is why
going back to our original or kind of earlier perhaps advice and ultimately decisions for Lindsey to
bring Andrew to the court and actually take Andrew to sort of so-called meet the judge, albeit by video
And the judge had met the Andrew, made these comments, but Andrew being cute and made some jokes and
so on and so forth.
So we kind of justified in this sort of request to meet the judges that, hey, this is unnecessary, this
is for Andrew, this is for his benefit.
And in any event, you’ve met him, you know what this case is all about.
So we made the request and the request is finally approved for us to meet the judge.
And then on July 27th, the court issued basically the judgment.
So it’s interesting, it’s not like we met the judge actually.
We didn’t have to meet the judge.
It’s just this, in making this request, and this is Hanan’s creativity and ingenuity at play, is in making
this request to meet the judge, we just basically built our case, right?
We said, because otherwise, there isn’t, how do you actually engage with the judge when you already have
a decision, when you have a final decision and you don’t have an appeal?
How do you actually engage with the judge, right?
At that point, you only engage with the admin team, which is what we had been engaging with and kind
of hitting a wall a bit with.
And so this is Hanan’s creative approach, you can let’s meet the judge and ultimately, by virtue of this
request, plead or make our pleading, make our submission of basically stating, explaining why having
to serve Andrew is not necessary and why it’s actually more beneficial for the court to waive this requirement
of the final, of the service of process and such and that we just basically, and therefore, the importance
for the court to issue this finality certificate for the purposes of issues of the birth certificate.
So yes, so we made that request to meet the judge and in response, the judge, the court issued the letter
that we so badly required and then in this letter, the court stated yes, the judgment is final and enforceable.
And that was July 29th, 2023.
Wow, okay.
Because there’s so much more to this, I can follow Hanan’s logic.
Hanan is tremendous, by the way, but her logic that this is not a case where a simple case of you stole
5,000 dirhams, you have to pay me 5,000 dirhams, there’s a whole lot more going on in a case like this.
Indeed, but in a way, this case should not have had a claimant and a defendant.
And shouldn’t have gone that far, but you can see, you can follow Hanan’s train of thought, can’t you?
Yes, and so she really, we needed to be very creative and truly, she had some very, very novel thoughts
and approaches to this, which ultimately have brought us the successful resolution of the case, but I’m
not sure how much of it actually Lindsey was actually doing.
I was going to say how much did Lindsey actually know here.
In the nicest possible way, it’s probably good to keep some of this from you.
Yeah, I think Hanan definitely kept her frustrations away from me.
I know there was about, like, that Mila was saying about Hanan going to the court.
She told me this later afterwards, you know, that she was turning up there personally.
And I don’t think, I think she didn’t want to worry me because at one point I was, I still wasn’t clear,
And why I’d got this random name.
And I told you about my paranoia earlier.
So at one point I thought, are they go, is this never going to be solved because they need to keep it
open in case they think there’s a potential father out there that might come forward to appeal this.
And that’s what this is about.
And therefore, how long is this going to go on?
So by this point, I think I was not resigned to it, but you know, I wasn’t expecting any answers anytime
soon at this stage.
I hadn’t given up.
I’m not saying that.
No, you get accustomed to being in process.
Yeah, I can understand that.
So the court issues the letter.
The judgment is final.
It’s enforceable.
The minister is thinking, yes.
Where did you go now?
So Hanan runs back with this letter to the ministry of health, gives the letter of finality along with
the original judgment.
And lo and behold, on August 3rd of 2023, Mohab finally issues birth certificate with the baby being
named Andrew James Johnson as chosen by his mother.
Six months a day Andrew was born.
Six months later.
February 3rd to August 3rd.
And you have that piece of paper in your hand.
Hanan did.
Well, Hanan.
That’s true.
That’s true.
It doesn’t matter who’s got it.
You got it.
How did you feel?
Oh, I remember, I wasn’t at work.
This is how long, you know, I was back at work.
I remember being at my desk and not quite believing it to be honest, but like I said, I wasn’t expecting
that to be the end.
You’ve heard the story.
I thought there must be another, but or if or, you know, something else that we need, some other thing
we have to go through.
So I was very relieved, shocked, you know, very overwhelmed.
I remember being very, very like, very, very thankful to Nan.
I know she did a lot for this.
I can imagine she did.
I have to tell you, we screamed here.
We screamed.
We cried.
We like hugged.
We were like, we gave birth to the baby illegal birth.
So we did the physical birth.
We gave the legal birth.
It’s a little bit true.
I felt like a family affair.
So from a legal standpoint, what does this mean?
Because this is, I mean, we’ve been talking about a substantive case, but this is a substantial turn
of events from a legal perspective, surely?
Yes, indeed.
And so we, after all this, we went back and kind of reassess what had happened and tried to piece together
and explain from a legal standpoint and from professional standpoint how we came to be, how this practice
came to be, which was a departure from what we had done before, one, and also departure from what we
believed the law provided for the new law.
So in legal terms, what we were able to piece together is that you have a number of legal authorities
that the various authorities in this particular case relied on.
So at a high level, there is the UAE, the federal law on the issues of the birth certificate.
That’s the law that changed in 2022.
And that’s the law that ultimately was supposed to make the process of applying for birth certificates
a lot simpler.
And that’s law number 10 of 2022, and that’s regulating registration of birth and death.
And that sounds a little grim.
But that’s ultimately the federal law that establishes the practice for establishing, for issuing a birth
certificate and death certificates.
And that was one law that, as you recall, Tim, when the substantive law decriminalizing, having babies
at a wedlock changed, but the reason the process for the birth certificate had not changed was because
that administrative law on the issues of the birth certificates had not changed.
So the substantive law in 2020 changed, but the administrative law on how do you apply an issue birth
certificate had not changed.
And we talked about it in many different podcasts after that.
But finally, in 2022, by law number 10, that law had finally changed.
And now it kind of brought in line the change in substantive law with the regulatory administrative law
of the actual issuance of a document to support the birth.
And as per this federal law, all that is required, which is what we expected, was a declaration from
the mother that she is the mother, and that that’s how she wants to name the baby and the nationality
of the baby.
And that is the process that we expected for Lindsey to have gone to the typing center, for example,
and just make this or it could even be done through the Notre Republic as per the language of the law
that is.
And just because all it requires is a declaration from the mother.
And just with the declaration, she should have just submitted a request to the court.
The court would have issued the letter to the ministry.
And then the ministry would then issue, without the meeting of the committee, would issue the birth certificate.
So that’s how the law is drafted.
And ultimately, that’s sort of what we, that’s our interpretation.
What law provides for, and that’s what we anticipated.
So and that’s why we were so shocked and confused about what was going on in Lindsey’s case.
And we’re trying from a professional and intellectual standpoint, understand what had, what was, what
was causing a different application of this law.
And what we ultimately figured out was is that in Dubai, so this is the federal law we talked about,
In Dubai, there is what is called the Dubai courts as its own personal status.
It’s a personal status guide.
And that’s a personal status guide that it uses for purposes of personal status matters, such as divorces,
custody, determining how to, for example, calculate elimony and how to divide custody and so on and so
So it’s called a guide.
So that, so Dubai courts had issued its own guide, which we knew about.
And then also in 2021, this particular guide became official by virtue of an actual decision or like
a law, if you will, that adopted this guide as a kind of regulatory guide, guide as basic and kind of
by virtue of adopting and made it into law.
So it started out as just a guide issued by the court.
And then there was a decision issued in the decision, decision number three of 2021 regarding adopting
the regulatory guide for personal status matters in Dubai courts.
That’s basically the decision that ultimately made this guide law because a guide by virtue of its name
usually is just that, is just a guide.
It’s not an enforceable source of authority, but by virtue of the 2021 decision, it became the law.
And then this particular guide, and there’s article 63 ultimately that sets out this concept of Ishadd.
And that’s as per this article 63, the, the, basically it calls for the court in, in issuing decisions
in the case of where you have an unknown father, it says actually unknown, unknown parents or unknown
father says the court has to basically issue the name for a child and declare his date of birth, confirm
his birth and confirm his religion.
And so on that document is called Ishadd.
So that’s how we kind of retrospectively, retrospectively figured out how we came to be, how this concept
of Ishadd came to be.
However, what’s interesting is that this very article 63 in the Dubai person status guide that defines
Ishadd and ultimately gives the court the authority to issue the birth certificate and give, give the
baby the name also states at the end of the, of the paragraph that taking into account the legislation
enforced in this regard.
IE, this is what the court does, provided that there is no other laws that for example set out a different
But remember taking into account the other laws, that’s the federal, federal law.
So we have a law that at least from a, from a, from a legal standpoint supersedes more like a more limited
law because this is a Dubai court’s practice guide.
And this is the federal law that sets out a very different protocol for issuing the birth certificate.
So this is why we didn’t expect for this personal status guide from the Dubai courts to supersede the
federal law that sets out a very different process of just a pure declaration versus an Ishadd certificate.
So all in all, that’s how we were able to piece together what had happened.
It’s perhaps less interesting for Lindsey, but from, from the intellectual standpoint, and this is why
we took her cause.
So personally, because for us, these, these, these, these, few things from a legal standpoint did not
quite, did not quite come together in the way that they logically are supposed to come together.
And so this is how we were able to come to, to sort of reverse engineer, if you will, how Lindsey, and
why Lindsey had gone through what it had gone.
But ultimately, you know, if you do with the one kind of 180 by virtue of the court, count on the ish
had, it could confirmed our original interpretation of, of the federal law, which does not require ish
had in the case of, of the case like Lindsey’s.
So, so I, you know, I dare say we were vindicated, vindicated by the court’s ultimate decision in our
belief and conviction that the federal law should prevail and as per the federal law, all that needs
to be done is a declaration by the mother.
And then, and then the sort of a fairly administrative decision from the court and then Mohab, the Minister
of Health’s post issue, this letter without, without requiring any additional documents, without requiring
committee, without requiring certificates of any finality or enforceability.
So, but that’s more from a legal standpoint, how we, we finally at least reconciled and or our own minds
how Lindsey ended up in this kind of a legal debacle and sort of legal enigma, if you will, which we
finally resolved in our own minds.
And at least now we know where that practice came from and how to potentially address it.
So I would like to, to believe that as time goes on and more of these cases see the light of day that
the authorities will, will start applying the federal law perhaps more closely to its original purpose.
I mean, to be fair, I mean, I was going to ask you, is this not more indicative of the fact that we have
a really rapidly evolving jurisdiction here in Dubai, in the UAE?
That’s got to be part of this surely.
For sure.
And we’ve seen this before, Tim, and we’ve covered this before, for example, when, when the originally
out of wedlock, so to speak, births were decriminalized.
So the law had changed, but the authorities, when every time we would approach at that time and the police
and prosecution and even hospitals, Ministry of Health, at that point in time, they were still, it took
some time for the authorities, so for you perhaps for the law to trickle down to different levels of
society, including different authorities in understanding how to apply this law.
So one thing actually that reminds me, Tim, is that one thing we heard, we did hear from the Ministry
of Health when we told them this should not be required, we should not, should not be committed, we should
not have required this certificate because of this new law.
What we had learned from them is at that point in time, they had not yet received a mandate from the
authorities to, I guess, to, that have authority over them, that regulate them, that this new law is
now in effect and therefore their practice had to be amended.
So yes, so even though perhaps at an intellectual standpoint, people, authorities, people, representatives
of the authorities would know that the law had changed, but as an official authority, they too have their
own protocol in terms of where they draw their mandate and their instructions, and at that point in time,
they had not yet been given an instruction that the protocols and the procedures had changed and they,
there was a different, perhaps the most simplified process.
So as we go through the process, hopefully one year forward, I would hope that information and knowledge
continues to spread and that, you know, next time around, it’s going to be a much more predictable and
streamlined and more administrative process for mothers like in Lindsey’s position to apply for birth
certificates without having to go through the ordeal that she and we had gone through.
So there’s some inconsistency and I guess that there are different legal systems within the Emirates,
aren’t there?
So that’s, it’s not an easy experiment, but it is by way of explanation.
Well, interesting you said that and that just reminded me of something else since you’re talking about
inconsistencies even amongst the Emirates because shortly before we applied for Lindsey’s or tried to
apply for Lindsey’s birth certificate, we had actually assisted a client who was based in Abu Dhabi,
a Abu Dhabi resident, also a non-Muslim woman, a single woman who had had a baby through IVF and I’m
not sure if Laura remembered or if we had consulted her at that point in time, but we had actually also
helped her issue her birth certificate through the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department ADJD and it was just
a matter, she had, she kind of faced a little bit of stumbling blocks, sort of small pebbles here and
there on her path as well being, being kind of directed in very similar fashion to Lindsey’s by the representatives,
different authorities about filling out the wrong forms, but once we pointed her, okay, this is, there’s
a special form in ADJD, the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has a special form for birth certificate issuance
for babies with unknown father.
So there’s a special form and so we submitted this form online and we received a birth certificate within
just a few days.
So in her case, so we know, we’ve done it, we’ve been there.
It’s a very simple form.
I even tried, tried to, we tried, we even tried to, we tried to, we even tried to, we tried to Abu Dhabi
as well.
You’re right.
So we tried to do that for, for Lindsey as well because we knew that there was a simple process in a
different Emirate and we applied that because we just saw, okay, let’s try it.
Because I hadn’t given birth in Abu Dhabi, it wasn’t possible.
But yeah.
So we needed some sort of a connection to Abu Dhabi and there wasn’t any.
She was not a resident and she had not given birth in Abu Dhabi.
So they said, well, this is not the right jurisdiction, but you’re right.
We tried that for you as well because of it.
So you write him.
It’s even amongst the Emirates, the procedure for the time being, there’s a bit of differences.
But I would hope that as we go through the process and time, things will become a lot more reconciled.
Well, let’s hope so.
But Miller, from your standpoint, what’s the moral of the story?
Because I mean, I’m losing grammar and vocabulary.
It’s just, wow.
I think moral of the story is a multi-dimensional perseverance and just being kind of creative and inventive
in the application and also implementation of laws and legal practice.
So we are perhaps at our own fault in our own weakness that we’re just a team of fairly young and I put
myself in that group of young, fairly young souls.
Yes, thank you.
So, you know, we’re interested in the legal industry.
We’re actually sincerely interested and we’re also very much invested and intellectually interested in
the development of the legal framework and system in this country.
Because as we’ve said this many times on the podcast, it’s like living in the history and the making.
It’s very exciting because the country is making tremendous leaps forward and it’s changing for the better,
quite rapidly, its laws.
But obviously, there will be some leg time between the time the law and legislation changes and it trickles
down in practice.
So we know that we are realistic about it.
It’s very exciting on the one hand.
But on the other hand, it’s a reminder that as times change, as we evolve, we need to continue to stay
on our toes.
We need to continue to evolve as legal practitioners.
And also when we, because we take these kinds of matters to heart ourselves, when you take a matter to
heart, you know, you have all sorts of creative juices flowing through your blood all of a sudden.
You don’t even know how you wake up in the middle of the night and think, “Oh, I’ve got a great idea.”
And perhaps I’d like to think that sort of also what helped us collectively come up with these different
solutions and ultimately you have the result that we did.
I did want to add that.
I think the story isn’t unique to me.
You know, I mentioned before that when I first got the ISHAAD, I was looking around what my options were
and I did reach out in various groups and found out other women in my position that had also faced us,
you know, gone to get the birth certificate and being issued an ISHAAD with a random name and unfortunately
gone ahead and got the birth certificate in the wrong name as well.
You know, they weren’t as fortunate as I was to have found Ludmila and the team.
And you’ve heard that story.
There is no way I’d have been able to navigate that on my own.
You know, I mentioned quite a few times, I was always confident that it was going to go the right way
eventually and I think that’s because Hernan and the team were always able to translate that to me that
made sense in what the rest of it felt crazy to me, but you know, they were able to make some sense of
it for me, which and I would not have known where to have gone next.
You know, all these, as Ludmila was saying, the creative ideas, you know, I wouldn’t have been able
to do it without them.
No, I mean, I was going to say to you there last word really to you because fortunately, I mean, it’s
resolved now.
You have a birth certificate, but above anything else, you’ve got, you know, you’ve got your little boy.
But it’s all come good.
I can look back at that as a distant memory.
It was, I mean, we’ve been laughing throughout this podcast.
Obviously, we weren’t laughing at the time.
It was very stressful at the time and I think we’re laughing so we don’t cry now, but it, you know, it
wasn’t a very emotional time, but even now I’m like, okay, we got there, we did it.
It was an achievement.
It didn’t feel, I look back and don’t think.
It really is.
At least we got the outcome we did.
And the other side of it as well, I think is if your story can help somebody in a similar situation.
That’s why I’m here.
That’s why.
Well, look, thank you for joining us.
Lindsey, all the best with Andrew as well.
No more L-pons.
Thank you for having me.
No more.
We’ll never get to the bottom of that one, I guess, but that’s another episode of “Logical.”
Birth certificate issuance in Dubai and a real experience shared as well.
Thank you for joining us.
Thanks, Lindsey, for coming again.
You’re welcome.
Thank you for having me.
Appreciate it.
All the best, very best to both of you and to Andrew.
And thanks as ever to our legal expert, managing partner here at Yamalova & Plewka, with a million
Thank you for your expertise, sharing that, for sharing your knowledge, and for sharing the story.
And thank you, Tim, for you so capably moderating this discussion and getting this help us get the story
out there in the way that hopefully will not just be beneficial, but also interesting to others.
So always much appreciate your expertise and your capable moderation in these kinds of matters.
You can find us at LY Law, social media, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, all the podcasts that
we do are free at
And if you’d like a legal question answered in an episode of “Logical,” or if you would like to talk
to a qualified UAE experienced legal professional, click contact at
We done

Subscribe to get Latest News