Types of Deed Poll

This article provides an explanation of the various types of Deed Poll we refer to on our website and when speaking to or corresponding with our clients.

Links to sections in this article

1. Standard Deed Poll
A Standard Deed Poll is for adults and children who want to change the name they currently use to a new name.  Standard Deed Polls we issue for adults can include a change of title, for example Mrs to Ms, and for transgender adults and children, we can include a change of title, for example, Mr to Miss for adults and say Master to Miss for children.  For non-binary adults and children, we can include a change of title to Mx.

For adults who want to continue using their current name for professional or work purposes, or have a stage or pen name that is different to their new name, we can include a professionally known-as-name on their Deed Poll.

2. Replacement Deed Poll
We issue Replacement Deed Polls to adults and children who have previously changed their name by Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration but have lost the document and now need to show it to a record holder (a government department, company or organisation) as proof of their past name change.  If you apply for a Replacement Deed Poll, it will be modified to include an additional declaration that states you have been using your current name since changing your name on a particular past date (or year).

To request a Replacement Deed Poll, you need to complete section 5 of our Adult Deed Poll application form.  If applying for a Replacement Child or Family Deed Poll, you need to provide us with the relevant details in the comments box on the application form.

3. Retrospective Deed Poll
We issue Retrospective Deed Polls to adults and children who have previously changed their name but not by Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration but by ‘usage’ (so documentary evidence of the name change has never existed) and now need to show a record holder proof of their past name change.  If you apply for a Retrospective Deed Poll, it will be modified to include an additional declaration that states you have been using your current name since changing your name by usage on a particular past date (or year).

To request a Retrospective Deed Poll, you need to complete section 5 of our Adult Deed Poll application form.  If applying for a Retrospective Child or Family Deed Poll, you need to provide us with the relevant details in the comments box on the application form.

4. Complex Deed Poll
We refer to a Deed Poll as complex when it includes more than one name change.  We issue Complex Deed Polls to people who have changed their name more than once and no longer have documentary evidence of at least one of their former name changes.  A typical situation would be, for example, we are asked to provide a Retrospective Deed Poll to a woman whose surname was changed by usage when a she was a child by her separated mother.  However, she subsequently married and changed her surname to her husband’s (using her marriage certificate); she then changed her surname back by Deed Poll prior to her divorce and then married a second time and took her new husband’s surname.  The Retrospective Deed Poll we will issue to provide documentary evidence of the first name change by usage also needs to include the details of all subsequent name changes, ending with the name currently being used (because the Deed Poll needs to be signed in the current name).

5. Enrolled Deed Poll

An enrolled Deed Poll is simply a Deed Poll that has been voluntarily registered (enrolled) with the government’s Royal Courts of Justice in either London or Belfast (it is not possible to register a Deed Poll in Scotland).  Upon registration, the Deed Poll becomes ‘public record’.  Initially, the details of the Deed Poll (the name change and address), are published on the Internet and in a government publication called the London Gazette or the Belfast Gazette.  A copy of the Deed Poll is then placed in either the National Archives in Richmond, Surrey or in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast so it is available for the public to inspect.

There is no difference in the effectiveness of a Deed Poll that has been registered with the Royal Courts of Justice and the type of Deed Poll we issue, which is not intended to be registered.

The main concern people have with registering a Deed Poll is the making public of their name change and their address (surprisingly, the details of children’s name changes are also made public).  Our records on the other hand are confidential and are not available for public inspection.

These are the main requirements you must meet if you wish to register your Deed Poll:

  • You must be a British or British Commonwealth citizen.
  • You must permanently live in the United Kingdom (but not be born in Scotland).
  • If you are a married woman, you must have your husband’s consent (even if you have separated or have started divorce proceedings).
  • You must get someone to vouch for you (who has known you for at least 10 years and who owns property in the UK) by paying for them to swear a statutory declaration before a solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths.
  • You must pay for a notice of your name change to be published in the government’s daily publication The London Gazette (your personal details are published on the Internet free of charge).

Because registering a Deed Poll with the Ministry of Justice is voluntary and the details of all name change are made public, understandably very few people do it.  For example, during the 15 year period from 2003 to 2017, we issued over 624 thousand Deed Polls (none of which were registered) whereas there were fewer than 10 thousand Deed Polls registered with the Ministry of Justice.  Furthermore, we believe the majority of people who have registered their Deed Poll only did so because the Ministry of Justice website misled them into believing they had to.

6. Unenrolled Deed Poll

An unenrolled Deed Poll is simply a Deed Poll that has not been voluntarily registered (enrolled) with the Ministry of Justice.  There is no difference in the effectiveness of Deed Polls that have been registered with the Ministry of Justice and unenrolled Deed Polls that we issue, which we fully guarantee (see our terms and conditions page for full details of our money-back guarantee).

7. Copy Deed Poll

This section is included here because it is important to be aware of the difference in legal terms between a photocopy and a certified copy of a Deed Poll.  Certified copies are photocopies that have been certified by a professionally qualified person (e.g. a lawyer or accountant) as a true copy of the original Deed Poll document.  Certified copies of Deed Polls are accepted by record holders (government departments, companies and organisations) instead of seeing the original Deed Poll document.  Photocopies of Deed Polls have no legal standing but some record holders (such as utility companies, clubs and societies) will accept them in lieu of seeing the original Deed Poll document.

We provide certified copies of our Deed Polls as part of our Legal Copy and Archive Service, which can be ordered on our application forms.

7. DIY Deed Poll

If you have the time and inclination to research and prepare your own Deed Poll document, you may be successful in getting your documents and records changed to your new name.  However, many record holders will not accept a DIY Deed Poll and require one prepared by a competent authority like us.  After all, we are not going to issue a Deed Poll that is not going to be accepted by all record holders.

Have a question?

If you have a question about changing your name by Deed Poll, please click on this link to email us.  Alternatively, you can call our Helpline (see top of page for our Helpline’s phone number and hours).  Mobile phone users can call us by touching this link.