Change of Name
In the United Kingdom, an adult may change their name at any time. They may change their given name, their family name, or both. Other rules apply to children (PR). Can I Change my Child's Name ?
The legal procedure
Many Countries make it quite difficult to truly change your legal name. There are no such restrictions in the United Kingdom. A person can change their given name or family name, add names or rearrange their existing name, quite freely.
The change does not have to be recorded centrally or approved by government. There is no legal process required for the change. Under our system of law, a person’s name arises from use and reputation. If a person uses a new name and becomes known by that name, the name is considered legally altered. A person simply starts to use the new name, and the change follows on from that.
The only limit on change of name in England and Wales is that the change will not be recognised if done to deceive or defraud another person or organisation. So, a change of name intended to avoid debts or criminal liability would not be effective.
Whilst there are no legal formalities required to change your name, most organisations will require some form of proof that the change has happened.
This proof might take a number of forms: for example, a letter from a responsible professional (like a GP, a solicitor or an MP) that the person is known by the new name; a public announcement in a local or national newspaper or a Statutory Declaration.
In practice, most people who change their name prove the change by signing a Change of Name Deed.
Many still think of the expression Deed Poll when the topic of a name change arises. A deed is the name given to a legal document binding only to a single person. The word poll is simply an old-fashioned legal expression for a document with straight edges. A Change of Name Deed is a type of deed poll.
A Change of Name Deed that is properly prepared and signed; is usually sufficient evidence of the change for all purposes, include applying for a replacement passport.
A Change of Name Deed can be enrolled at the Royal Courts of Justice. There are additional costs from enrolment, of about £102. Enrolment is entirely optional. It does not make the change any more valid. Most people do not enrol their Change of Name Deed, given there is no positive need and the additional cost.