Change of Name Solicitors York, Wetherby & Malton
There has been speculation recently that the government was considering making it harder for people to change their name by revoking the automatic right to do so, following the Safeguarding Alliance raising a petition on the government’s website setting out their concerns that, at present, a convicted sex offender can easily change their name and potentially evade detection.
The government responded by saying that they shall amend existing Home Office guidance so that only enrolled Deed Polls (through the Royal Courts of Justice) will be accepted as a proof of name change.
At present, anyone can change their name at any time provided they do not intend to deceive or defraud another person. Commonly this process is completed by entering into a Change of Name Deed. A Change of Name Deed is a formal legal document, which is signed, witnessed and delivered. It records an intention to abandon an old name and adopt a new one. There is no legal requirement to formally register the Deed.
Evidence may be required of a change of name for passports, doctors and other official authorities. The evidence can be a Change of Name Deed.
Alternatively, a person could apply to the Royal Courts of Justice for an enrolled Deed Poll recording a change of name. Whilst the change of name will not be recorded on a central register, it will provide a public record of a person’s change of name. The details of the name change are also published in the London Gazette. The disadvantages of applying to enroll a Deed Poll are that it can be a complex, costly and lengthy process. On top of legal fees, you would also be required to pay the Court Enrolment Fee, the advertisement charge and a fee for a copy of the London Gazette. The benefits of applying for an Enrolled Deed Poll is that there would be unquestionable proof of a Deed Poll’s existence and future generations can find the Deed Polls of their ancestors when researching their family tree. There is no difference in the effectiveness of a Change of Name Deed and an Enrolled Deed Poll.
Change of Name Deeds are commonly prepared following a relationship breakdown and removing the automatic right would have a major impact on those separating and wishing to be known by a different name.