Parents have not only rights but responsibilities when choosing names for their children, a senior judge has said.

Lady Justice King - who sits in the Court of Appeal - says unusual and bizarre forenames can lead to children being bullied and trigger resentment.

She analysed the implications of names after the Court of Appeal was asked to consider a case in which a woman wanted to call her daughter Cyanide and her son Preacher.

The woman, who has been diagnosed with a mental health problem, said it was her "human right" to "exercise my right to choose their names".

But a judge ruled against her following a hearing in a family court and three Court of Appeal judges - Lady Justice Gloster, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice David Richards - have upheld that decision.

"It may be thought that any individual who has had the happy experience of debating with his or her partner possible forenames for their unborn child would be astonished at the proposition that the choice of the name of their child could be regarded as other than their right as the child's parents and their first act of parental responsibility," said Lady Justice King - in a section of the appeal court ruling called What Is In A Name?

"If a baby cannot be brought up by his or her parents, often the forename given to him or her by their mother is the only lasting gift they have from her.

"It may be the first and only act of parental responsibility by his or her mother. It is likely, therefore, to be of infinite value to that child as part of his or her identity."

Lady Justice King - whose forenames are Eleanor Warwick - added: "The naming of a child is not however merely a right or privilege, but also a responsibility; people, and particularly children, are capable of great unkindness and often not accepting of the unusual or the bizarre.

"It does not need expert evidence or academic research to appreciate that a name which attracts ridicule, teasing, bullying or embarrassment will have a deleterious effect on a child's self-esteem and self-confidence with potentially long-term consequences for him or her. The burden of such a name can also cause that child to feel considerable resentment towards the parent who inflicted it upon him or her."

The woman at the centre of the appeal had said Preacher was a "strong spiritual name" and a "rather cool name" which would "stand my son well for the future".

She said Cyanide was a "lovely pretty name" which was "linked with flowers and plants" - and she said Cyanide was "responsible for killing Hitler" and therefore a "positive" name.