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New Legislation on Company Name Change

May 20, 2015

The government has been on a drive to reduced red tape for businesses and consulted on the issues affecting businesses and companies when it came to names and the complexity of the process.

As a result of this consultation back in autumn 2013, a number of changes have been implemented and have come into force in early 2015, prior to the recent election. This means that there are now two sets of regulations that relate to naming a business and they are:

  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 and
  • The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Name and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015

These new regulations have brought about a number of changes, including:

Increased Number of Characters

Previously business and company names were limited to using only Roman alphabet letters and certain characters and this impacted on the ability to name your business in the way you wanted, meaning multiple registered names and business names to achieve this.

The new legislation allows Companies House to incorporate more characters in company names and these can now include accents, other symbols such as diacritical marks and ligatures, where two letters are joined together as one.

‘Same As’

Under the old legislation, groups of companies did struggle to accurately reflect their business structure as the ‘same as’ rule did not allow them the freedom to have slight differences in a business name as it was classed as the ‘same as’ the other one. For example ACME Services Limited and ACME Limited would not have been allowed, but under the new legislation, some words have been removed from the list to allow more flexibility.

Business Name Display

The old regulations meant that if six businesses or companies operated from one location, the details of each of the businesses had to be displayed at that location at all times. The new regulations allow this information to be held away from display and produced on request.

Removal of Sensitive Words

Certain words were not allowed to be used in a business name without permission from the Government but these have now been reduced. The words that have been removed are:

  • abortion
  • authority
  • banknote
  • board
  • data protection
  • disciplinary
  • discipline
  • European
  • giro
  • group
  • holding
  • human rights
  • international
  • national
  • oversight
  • pregnancy termination
  • register
  • registered
  • registration
  • registry
  • regulation
  • rule committee
  • United Kingdom
  • watchdog

These regulation changes may means that you can now change your business names to reflect your structure or just incorporate the name you always wanted. For more advice on how to proceed, please contact   Christopher Taylor on 01264 325815 or by email on business@bsandi.co.uk .  He will be happy to run through your options with you.


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