The term Deed Poll (sometimes mispronounced ‘depoll’ or ‘dpoll’), is the common name for 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 child, and have been used in this way by hundreds of thousands of people over the past 160 years. A Deed Poll commits the person it concerns to:

  • abandon the use of their old name
  • use their new name at all times
  • 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.

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 other records (bank account, NI record etc), you will need to change your name by Deed Poll. You can change part of your name i.e. forename, middle name or surname, or you may change your entire name. This includes making a spelling alteration or re-arranging existing names.

Here are some common reasons why people use our services:

  • 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 (transgender)
  • formalising the informal usage of a different name
  • changing the surname of child to your partner’s
  • taking the surname of a new partner (un-married couples)
  • change of title
  • unhappy with current name
  • wish to adopt a stage name
  • current name difficult to understand over the phone
Please note, you do not require a valid reason to change your name.

Possible Exceptions (Marriage)

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 to change your name by Deed Poll because you can use your marriage/civil partnership certificate as legal evidence of your new surname. However, if you’d prefer not to use your marriage certificate as proof of name change – it could get lost or damaged when sending it to record holders – then you can apply to change your name by Deed Poll and use your Deed Poll certificate instead.

Are Deed Polls registered anywhere?

In England and Wales, a Deed Poll may be registered voluntarily 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 documentation is regulated by the Enrolment of Deeds (Change of Name) Regulations 1994, Statutory Instrument
1994 No. 604.

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

1.) The witness does not need to be a solicitor and can be any person over the age of 18, providing s/he isn’t a relation or a cohabitant.
2.) In England and Wales, changing your name by Deed Poll will not change the name on your Birth Certificate (because it is classed as an historic record of the facts at birth). So when applying for a Passport, for example, 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

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