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Deed Poll Helpline

A comprehensive guide to changing

your name by Deed Poll in the UK

About Deed Polls

Changing Your Name

Reasons for a Name Change


Changing a Child's name by Deed Poll in the UK


Time Saving Tip: The quickest and easiest way to change your name in the UK is to

Apply For Your Deed Poll Online.


A Deed Poll can be used to change a child's legal name. This involves the child's parent or parents executing a Deed Poll document on the child's behalf.

The name of a child below 16 years old should only be changed by Deed Poll if all those holding parental responsibility for the child have given their consent for the name change to take place.


Parental Responsibility

As all parental responsibility holders must give their consent for a name change, it is crucial to determine who holds parental responsibility for a child before proceeding to change their name. Parental responsibility is defined as 'All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that go with being a parent'.  

The mother of a child will always hold parental responsibility provided there are no exceptional circumstances, for example, removal of parental responsibility by a court order, or in adoption cases.

If the father of the child is married to the child’s mother he too will hold parental responsibility. If the father was not married to the child's mother but his name was entered on the birth certificate after December 2003, he too has parental responsibility. For Scotland the relevant date is May 2006 and for Northern Ireland April 2002. If the birth was register before the above date, an unmarried father with his name on the birth certificate would not have parental responsibility.

It is unadvisable for a parent to change their child's name by Deed Poll without the consent of the other parental responsibility holder(s). If such a situation arises it is often possible for the other parental responsibility holder to have the name change reversed by obtaining a court order.


Age Restrictions

Once a child reaches 16 years of age if they wish to change their name, they must do so with a normal adult Deed Poll. At this age they have the same rights as other adults as regards the name change process.

However, previously this was not the case. From 10 December 2007 the Identity and Passport Service overhauled their passport rules for young people allowing those aged 16 and above, the ability to change their names by Deed Poll without parental consent. The IPS issued a statement outlining that their reason for the change was to 'bring us into line with modern legal practices and recognise the fact that many 16 and 17-year-olds are already taking day-to-day responsibility for their lives'.

Therefore, 16 year olds wishing to change their name can now do so by applying for a normal adult deed poll, and without having to obtain consent from their parents.


Time Saving Tip: The quickest and easiest way to change your name in the UK is to

Apply For Your Deed Poll Online.



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