Deed of change of name

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A deed of change of name is a legal document used in the United Kingdom, Ireland and some other countries with legal systems based on English common law, to record an intended change of name by a person or family. It is one use of a deed poll.[1]

Some organisations, such as government departments issuing passports and driving licences, may not recognise a name change without a deed poll.[1][2] However, an official document is not a legal requirement for a valid name change in common law.[3]

Legal procedure[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

In England and Wales, such a deed may be registered in the Central Office of the High Court. Deeds so registered are advertised in the London Gazette. A deed of name change on behalf of a minor must be approved by the Senior Master on behalf of the Master of the Rolls who will take into account the child's best interests. A deed poll can also be used to change a child's name, as long as everyone with parental responsibility for the child consents to it[4] and the child does not object to it.[5]

Registration of deeds is regulated by the Enrolment of Deeds (Change of Name) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994/604)[6] (as amended). Compared to some other European countries, for example Germany, a name change in the UK is easy and virtually unrestricted regarding choice.

Registration of a deed of change of name is not a legal requirement in the United Kingdom. A standard legal document, with stock wording, filled in by the person making the deed poll, and signed in presence of a witness, carries sufficient legal authority to be recognised. The witness need not be a solicitor, but can be anyone over the age of 18 independent of the person changing their name.

The procedure, requirements and law surrounding the issue in Northern Ireland are similar to those in England and Wales.

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, a deed of change of name will not change the name on a birth certificate. For instance, when applying for a passport, both the certificate and the deed would need to be presented as documents of identity.[7] In Northern Ireland, for children between the ages of two and eighteen years, only one change of forenames and one change of surname may be recorded. In Scotland, it is also possible to record a change of name on the original birth register entry at the General Register Office. However, only one change of forename and three changes of surname are permitted.[8]

This restriction does not apply to transgender people who have a Gender Recognition Certificate, as a new entry in the Gender Recognition Register bearing one's new name and acquired gender is established by the General Register Office, and all subsequent birth certificates are issued from that register.[9]

Republic of Ireland[edit]

In the Republic of Ireland, a deed poll of change of name (Irish: Athrú Ainm de réir Gníomhais Aonpháirtí) is obtainable from the Central Office of the Four Courts, Dublin at a cost of €30. Like in the UK, there are very few restrictions on name changes. One is that foreign nationals must also obtain a change of name licence from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. One of Ireland's most noted name changers was the politician Seán Loftus, who repeatedly added middle names referring to his political views so that they would appear on election ballot papers.

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, a deed poll of change of name needs to be signed in the presence of a Hong Kong solicitor and submitted to one of the Registration of Persons Offices together with the relevant forms for a name change to be approved. There are very few restrictions on name changes, including that the new name cannot exceed six Chinese characters or 60 English characters. Like in the United Kingdom, a deed poll used to change a child's name needs to be signed by everyone with parental responsibility for the child.[citation needed]


In re Parrott, Cox v Parrott [1946] Ch 183,[10] Mr Justice Vaisey stated that he did not believe that a deed poll could be used to change a person's Christian name if given in a baptismal ceremony – that could be done by only an act of Parliament. Deeds that change a person's first name can be registered by the applicant in the Enrolment Books of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, which is located within the Royal Courts of Justice on Strand, London, and they are usually endorsed "Notwithstanding the decision of Mr Justice Vaisey in re Parrott, Cox v Parrott, the applicant wishes the enrolment to proceed".


  1. ^ a b "Change your name or personal details on your passport". UK Government. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Identity documents needed for a driving licence application". UK Government. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  3. ^ Enrolment of Deeds (Change of Name) Regulations 1994 SI 1994/604 (as amended)
  4. ^ "Change a child's name". GOV.UK. Retrieved 31 January 2015. To change the name of a child aged under 16 (sometimes called a 'minor') you'll need either: the agreement of everyone with parental responsibility [or] a court order
  5. ^ "Changing your name". AdviceGuide UK. Archived from the original on 7 August 2014. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Enrolment of Deeds (Change of Name) Regulations 1994". HM Government. 4 July 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Applying for a Passport" (PDF). HM Passport Office. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Recording changes of forename(s) and surname(s) in Scotland" (PDF). General Register Office for Scotland. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011.
  9. ^ "T451 Guidance on Completing the Standard Application Form for a Gender Recognition Certificate" (PDF). HM Courts and Tribunals Service. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 November 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  10. ^ Re Parrott, Cox v Parrott [1946] Ch 183

External links[edit]