The UK Deed Poll Office

Deed Poll Overview

What is a 'Deed Poll':

The term 'deed poll' (sometimes mispronounced as 'depoll' or 'dpoll'), is simply the common name used to describe a deed of change of name, the standard legal document used to substantiate a change of name in the UK.

A form of contract, deed polls are widely used in the UK to provide legal evidence of a change in name for an adult or a child, and have been used in this way by hundreds of thousands of people over the past 150 years. But you may be interested to learn that deed polls aren't only for name change and, in fact, they are actually used everyday in a wide range of different legal matters. A deed poll for name change commits the person it concerns to: 
  1. abandon the use of their old name 
  2. use their new name at all times 
  3. require all persons to call them by their new name. 
Deed polls are accepted by all UK Government Departments, companies and organisations, so you can change your name on your driving licence, passport, bank account etc.

Please note: 'deed poll' is not an automated service, a government organisation or a certificate.

Why do I need a Deed Poll?

You have the legal right to call yourself by a different name, without following a particular process, providing it is not for fraudulent or deceptive purposes. However, if you want to change your name on important documents such as your Passport and Driving Licence, as well as things like bank accounts and your NI record, then you will need legal evidence of your new name in the form of Deed Poll. Without a Deed Poll you will not be able to change these records (see notes below).

There are various situations whereby a person would need a Deed Poll:
  • breakdown of marriage or civil partnership (revert to former name)
  • correcting a spelling mistake
  • adding or removing a middle name
  • changing from a male to female name or vice-versa (sex change)
  • formalising the informal usage of a different name
  • taking the surname of a new partner (child name change)
  • taking the surname of a new partner (un-married couples)
  • change of title
  • unhappy with current name
  • wish to adopt 'stage name'
  • current name too difficult to spell or pronounce on the phone
Please note that you do not require a 'valid reason' to change your name.

Possible Exceptions (Marriage, Death or Divorce)

N.B. If you've recently entered into a marriage or civil partnership, and just wish to adopt your partner's surname, then you will not need a Deed Poll because you can use your marriage/civil partnership certificate as legal evidence of your new surname. If your husband/wife is sadly deceased, then you can use the death certificate to substantiate reverting back to your maiden name, or if you're divorced then you can often use a combination of marriage certificate/decree absolute to accomplish the same. N.B. in all of the aforementioned cases, you could simply change your name by deed poll instead. You will also need to change your name by deed poll if, as a married woman/man, you wish to keep your maiden name as a middle name, or make any other change other than to take your husband's/wife's surname.

Are Deed Polls registered anywhere?

In England and Wales, a Deed Poll may voluntarily be registered in the Central Office of the High Court. This means that the name change would also be advertised in the London Gazette. Registration of Deed Poll paperwork is regulated by the Enrolment of Deeds (Change of Name) Regulations 1994, Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 604.

However, it is absolutely not a legal requirement. We have only ever had a couple of clients who have opted to enrol their Deed Poll.

Notes: 1.) The witness does not need to be a solicitor and can be any person over the age of 18, providing they are independent of the person changing their name.

2.) In England and Wales, a Deed of Change of Name will not change the name on the person's Birth Certificate (because it is an 'historic record of the facts at birth'). So when applying for a Passport, for instance, both the Birth Certificate and the Deed Poll would need to be presented as documents of identity.

3.) British and non-British citizens, refugees, bankrupts and all other UK residents can change their name by deed poll. If you're unsure if you qualify, please contact us to double-check.

Related Pages :

If you would like to learn more you may find the following links helpful:

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