A statutory declaration can be drawn up by yourself, or by a solicitor, on your behalf. All statutory declarations must then be signed by the you in your new name and witnessed, either by a solicitor (other than the one who prepared the statutory declaration) or a Justice of the Peace (JP).
Before witnessing a statutory declaration, a solicitor or JP may ask to see the your birth certificate.
Some magistrates courts are reluctant to witness statutory declarations for a change of name because they believe that people should use a deed poll. A client in this situation should explain that s/he wants the statutory declaration purely as evidence of the fact that s/he is using a different name and that s/he does not want to use the more formal (and costly) deed poll.
Solicitors normally charge for drawing up and witnessing statutory declarations. You should find out the likely costs in advance. If you have a low income, you may be entitled to publicly-funded legal services to help with the costs of drawing up a statutory declaration. A fee is payable to the court for a JP to witness a statutory declaration - this fee can be waived if the client cannot afford it.
In order to get it witnessed you must go to the magistrates court. To find out when they hear applications for declarations you should contact your local magistrates court. They will also be able to tell you how much the fee will be.
A deed poll is a formal statement that a name has been changed. For most people it will not be necessary to prepare a deed poll as evidence that they have changed their name. However, there may be cases when a deed poll is required. For example, some professional bodies require their members to produce a deed poll as proof that they have changed their name.
Someone who has obtained a deed poll can do so again, at a later stage, should s/he wish to change her/his name again. S/he can also subsequently obtain alternative or additional evidence of her/his change of name.
You can prepare your own deed poll on a prescribed form, available from law stationers.If you prepare your own deed poll you should ensure that it is signed in the presence of two witnesses, who must also add their names, addresses and occupations. The deed poll should state that it is 'signed as a deed and delivered'.
Alternatively, you can have a deed poll prepared by a solicitor. This is advisable if you want to enrol the deed poll. Solicitors' fees for preparing deed polls vary and can be expensive, particularly if the deed poll is enrolled.
A deed poll can be enrolled in the Central Office of the Supreme Court. It is not necessary to do so and you can just keep the deed to produce as evidence of a change of name if required. However, enrolling a deed poll provides safe custody, availability of copies and a public record of the change of name. The change is also advertised in the London Gazette.
A deed poll can only be enrolled by British, British Dependent Territories, British Overseas or Commonwealth citizens and British subjects who are permanently resident in the United Kingdom.
There is no time limit in which a deed poll may be enrolled and it can be cancelled at any time.
If a client is married, a copy of the marriage certificate and her/his partner's consent is required by the Central Office of the Supreme Court in order for a deed poll to be enrolled. The client can request that her/his partner's consent is not required if, for example, s/he does not know her/his whereabouts. In this situation s/he will have to sign an affidavit and show there is a good reason for not obtaining her/his partner's consent and outline the steps taken to trace her/him.
This factsheet is about an adult changing their name only. This is not appropriate for changing children's names.
THIS FACTSHEET IS INTENDED AS A GENERAL STATEMENT OF THE LAW AND DOES NOT PURPORT TO RENDER SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE. SPECIFIC ADVICE ON A PARTICULAR PROBLEM SHOULD ALWAYS BE SOUGHT.