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:
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.
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:
Please note that you do not require a 'valid reason' to change your name.
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
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.
If you would like to learn more you may find the following links helpful:
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