ALTERNATE NAME CHANGE METHODS
In the UK, changing your name by Deed Poll is not the only option. Other less common options are explained below (note you do not need to use any of these other methods). Click here for more information on changing your name by Deed Poll.
Other options include:
- Statutory Declaration
- Act of Parliament
- Royal Licence
The last two options are relatively complicated and unnecessary. Nonetheless, they are mentioned for completeness.
A Statutory Declaration is a written statement by virtue of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835 and must be signed in the presence of one of the following:
- a Solicitor (see note below)
- a member of the Notaries Society
- a Justice of the Peace
- a Commissioner for Oaths
- other persons who are permitted by law to administer an oath
The Solicitors Act 1974 states that “every solicitor who holds a practising certificate which is in force shall have the powers conferred on a commissioner for oaths by the Commissioners for Oaths Acts 1889 and 1891”. This means that any practising solicitor may authenticate a Statutory Declaration. Because a Statutory Declaration needs to be signed in the presence of particular person (whereas a Deed Poll can be signed in the presence of a friend) it is a far less common method.
Act of Parliament
It is also possible for an individual to bring in a private act. Private Acts of Parliament were common in the nineteenth century. They were used for things like the construction of docks, and gas and water infrastructure. And indeed a common method for people wishing to change their names. Few people these days change their names in this way because the procedure is lengthy, complex and prohibitively expensive in comparison to the aforementioned alternate methods; Deed Poll and Statutory Declaration.
It would be beyond the scope of this section to detail the process in its entirety. But, in a nutshell it’s a multiple stage process that must be handled by a firm of Parliamentary Agents. There job is to oversee the passing of the bill through Parliament. If the bill is agreed by both houses, it is presented for Royal Assent, prior to being enacted.
Originally popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, Royal Licences were often granted for name change. In more modern times, they would be issued where:
- the financial settlement of a marriage required a husband to adopt his wife’s name
- changing name also meant a change to a coat of arms
- someone needed to take a deceased persons name in order to inherit
A petition for a Royal Licence is drafted by an officer of arms. Once signed by the petitioner, it is then submitted to the Home Office. To be valid, a Royal Licence must be recorded in the official registers of the College of Arms. As must any subsequent exemplification of arms.