Changing the name or adding a middle name in the UK is a highly debatable topic. Many people think that a name change is a lengthy process that usually comes with many expenses.
This is not true. These days, you can easily change your name in pennies, that too, in a couple of steps. Heck, you don’t even need to go to a solicitor. Everything can be done online.
We bust several other myths related to the name change in the UK. Have a look.
Most people think that there must be a government service or department that changes people’s names. You may have searched for deedpoll.gov.uk or Government Deed Poll. But this is completely incorrect. Because a change of name deed is a form of contract, it would have traditionally been written by a Solicitor or an online website.
However, the writing of contracts and Deeds is not a ‘reserved legal activity’ according to the Legal Service Act (2007). Certain activities such as conducting litigation or a right of audience before the courts are reserved for the six classes of lawyers recognised by the Act.
Therefore, any competent person(s) or company can write a change of name Deed. It should also be noted that the government does not have any involvement in the companies that write a change of name Deeds. This means that there is no such thing as an ‘official’ website or company.
Despite contrary belief, there is no such thing as an automatic central register of people who have changed their names. If you change your name with a change of name Deed, you can opt for the Deed to be enrolled in Enrolment Books of the Supreme Court of Judicature (formerly the Close Rolls of Chancery). However, this is a totally optional process, and it is in no way a legal requirement.
All Deeds that meet the formal requirements as laid down by the current law are legal. The use of terms such as ‘official’ and ‘authentic’ is meaningless in the context of the document’s authority.
Some people believe that changing their name by deed poll is an automated process whereby an ‘official’ company or department will update all of their records to show their chosen new name.
This is clearly not the case. It is a very confused perception of what the process actually entails. Although it’s perfectly understandable given the misinformation that is frequently posted on the Internet.
Birth Certificate Changed
The belief that a person’s Birth Certificate will change is often linked with the aforementioned misunderstanding that the process is in some way automated. A Birth Certificate can only be changed in a small number of minimal circumstances.
Any changes made to and the subsequent reissuing of a birth certificate are carried out by the General Register Office (GRO). The GRO (for a small fee) can supply copies of missing birth certificates.
Remember: when you change your name after getting married, your Birth Certificate stays the same. Changing your name by Deed Poll is no different in this respect.
Bonus Tip#1: Steps To deed Poll Process
There are three main steps to the Deed Poll process;
- ‘Order’ stage where you apply for your Deed to be drafted, either at a Solicitors or through a reputable online firm.
- ‘Execution’ stage where you sign your newly drafted Deed in the presence of an independent witness.
- ‘Notification’ stage whereby you request that all parties address you by your chosen new name.
You can obtain certified copies of the deed poll. This means you send your signed original back to the firm that drafted it. They will make a photocopy that will be marked or ‘certified’ as a ‘true copy of the original’. The DVLA and Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will not accept un-certified photocopies.
The name change process in the UK is a hassle-free and economical process. We hope that debunking the myths in this article would have provided more transparency to you.