Historically, England and Wales have taken a laid-back approach to changing your name.
Your registered name is what is printed on your birth certificate. However, the basic legal position is that “your name is what you call yourself”. Your name can therefore legally be changed simply by using a new name, as long as:
- You have genuinely changed your name in good faith;
- You have publicly assumed your name; and
- You have no fraudulent reason for changing your name.
For example, changing your name to “Alan Sugar” and then attempting to access Lord Sugar’s bank accounts would be fraudulent and not in good faith.
Furthermore, there is no law in England and Wales that restricts the type of name that parents can legally give to their children. However, names that contain obscenities, numerals, misleading titles, or are impossible to pronounce are likely to be rejected by the Registering Officer.
This is unlike France where it is not permitted to give certain names to babies, and Italy, which passed a law requiring baby names to be “appropriately gendered” for the child.
These pages detail TransActual’s interpretation of the issues around name change. There’s information on the steps you need to take to change your name on the gov.uk website.
These pages summarise general legal information relating to the rights of transgender and/or non-binary individuals under the law in England and Wales. It is not intended to give specific legal advice on which you should rely. If you require legal advice, or further details on any matter referred to, please consult an independent legal professional.
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