+44(0)20 7638 9271

Changes to the rules for company and business names

Two new regulations came into force on 31 January 2015 with the aim to make it easier for companies choosing or changing their name. These changes were introduced as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge to reduce the administrative burden companies face.

Directors and company secretaries will want to be aware of the impact of these new regulations.

List of “sensitive words” reduced

The Company Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 (S.I. 2014/3140) introduces a reduced list of the sensitive words and expressions which companies need approval for to use in their name. The words and expressions no longer specified as sensitive include ‘European’, ‘Group’, ‘Holding’, ‘International’, ‘National’ and United Kingdom’.

This change means that the extra administrative step of getting approval from the relevant Government department when using one of the above terms in a company name is now removed.

“Same as” rules relaxed

Regulations have also been made which makes changes to the “same as” regulations (The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/17). Fewer words are now disregarded for the purposes of deciding whether one name is the “same as” another on the register at Companies House to allow more choice and make name swaps within groups of companies easier. The words to be removed include:

  • exports
  • group
  • holdings
  • imports
  • international
  • services

In addition, widening of the “same as” consent provision means that it is now easier for companies in the same group to grant permission to register a proposed name.

Permitted characters in company names

A wider range of characters, signs and symbols and punctuation are now permitted to be used in a company name.

Requirement to display company name at registered office

Amendments to trading disclosure requirements now means that any company located in an office or other location occupied by six or more companies may make its registered name available for inspection on a register.

If you require more information about Company names and similar corporate issues please speak to Claire Rigby, solicitor in Druces LLP’s Corporate team.