LEGAL AID: Please advice me on adding a father's name to the birth certificate

Wednesday September 11 2019

Dear Sir,

Thank you for the legal advice you give people. My question is: If you have a baby with a person, can one use their name to acquire a birth certificate without using their ID in the event that they have not given it?




Dear Reader,


Thank you for following us and being appreciative of our work.  Your question raises two issues, namely: i) parental responsibility; and ii) registration of a child’s birth.

Article 53 of the Constitution of Kenya bestows equal parental responsibility on both parents whether they are married or not. The same is automatic and self-activating and is not exercised on the whim of either of the parents.

Registration of a child’s birth is the first right of a child after birth; the first legal acknowledgement of the child’s existence and the first of requirement towards fulfilment of other rights.

Such registration therefore ought to bear both parent’s names.

In the previous dispensation, i.e. section 12 of the Birth and Death Registration Act 1928 Cap. 149 (rev. ed. 2014), children born out of wedlock hardly had the names of their father on their birth certificate, since the law required prior father’s consent.

This provision was, however, declared unconstitutional on two separate occasions by the High Court.

Therefore, until such a time that the Attorney General brings appropriate amendment to the Birth and Registration Act, with a view to bringing it to conformity with the Constitution it is the cardinal duty of parents to step up and take parental responsibility, which must begin with registration of a child’s birth.

You may need to bring civil proceedings against an unwilling parent in order to ensure his or her name is entered in the child’s birth certificate.


Eric Mukoya is the Executive Director, Legal Resources Foundation Trust. Do you have a legal problem you would like addressed by a lawyer? Please email your queries to [email protected]