As an official document that confirms your name change, a deed poll is sufficient proof that you’re using your new name.
However, if you’re over 18, you can choose to apply for an enrolled deed poll, which allows your new name to go onto the public record.
Continue reading to find out more about enrolling your deed poll and whether you should consider this option when changing your name.
A deed poll is a legal evidence that you have changed your name in good faith. This document serves as proof that you’re using the name publicly.
A deed poll can be either unenrolled or enrolled.
An unenrolled deed poll is a simple legal statement that you have changed your name. You can conveniently obtain an unenrolled deed poll by applying online without contacting a solicitor.
An enrolled deed poll is officially registered at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. This type of deed poll is kept in the Enrolment Books of the Senior Courts of England & Wales for 5-10 years. After that, enrolled deed polls are stored indefinitely at the National Archives at Kew in Richmond, Surrey.
By enrolling a deed poll, you are putting the details of your name change on the public record. This means that your old name, your new name, and your home address will be published in The London Gazette, both in its print edition and on the Gazette website.
You are eligible to enrol your deed poll if you are over the age of 18.
You can enrol your deed poll only if you were born in England or Wales. Different name change procedures are to be followed by anyone born in Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Deed polls that are used for enrolling require specific wording and some additional information. That ‘s why it is not possible to use standard deed polls, including documents obtained through the UK Deed Poll Office and similar online services, for this purpose.
If you want your deed poll to be suitable for enrollment, you will need to get in touch with a solicitor who will help you prepare the necessary documentation. Most of the documents will also need to be witnessed by a solicitor. To find a solicitor in your area, you can contact The Law Society of England & Wales.
In addition, you are required to have a statutory declaration made by a person who has known you for at least ten years in front of a solicitor or notary public. If you have not known anyone for 10 years, you must include an additional Affidavit that explains the reasons why you are changing your name. This document will then be referred to the Senior Master for permission to enrol the change of name.
Once you have your deed poll and other documents ready, you can apply at the Royal Courts of Justice for enrollment. Their website includes a guidance form for changing an adult’s name, as well as the notification form for The Gazette.
You should send the forms and documents to the Queen’s Bench Division at the following address:
Queen’s Bench Division
The Royal Courts of Justice
It costs £42.44 to enrol a deed poll. The cheque should be made payable to HMCTS.
If you are enrolling a deed poll for a child under the age of 18, you must obtain the written agreement of everyone with parental responsibility in addition to a court order. Besides, you need to prepare an Affidavit of Best Interest stating why it is in your child’s best interest to change the name, have a statutory declaration for a minor, and complete all the relevant forms including the notification form for The Gazette. All applications for a change of name of a minor are referred to the Senior Master for permission to enrol.
If you don’t wish your child’s full personal details to appear in The Gazette, you can contact the Queen’s Bench Division and ask to have only your child’s first name published.
The process of enrolling a deed poll is completely optional. You are not legally required to enrol or register your deed poll anywhere.
This was made clear by Mr Justice Holman, who in Re PC (Change of Surname)  2 FLR 730, in the High Court, held that
“Enrolment of a deed poll is not a prerequisite to a change of surname and merely evidences a change in a particularly formal way.”
In the earlier case of D v B (orse D) (Surname: Birth Registration)  Fam 38, in the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Ormrod made clear that deed polls do not have to be enrolled:
“[T]he purpose of enrolment is only evidential and formal. A deed poll is just as effective or ineffective whether it is enrolled or not; the only point of enrolment is that it will provide unquestionable proof [that the deed poll has been executed], if proof is required. No more.”
You should keep in mind that a deed poll is considered being a private document that can only be consulted with your permission. By the same token, the UK Deed Poll Office deed poll records are confidential and not available to the public.
Enrolling your deed poll may seem to provide you with stronger evidence of your name change than opting for an unenrolled deed poll. However, the deed poll enrolment process does not make changing your name any more official and does not affect the legal status of your change of name in any way. All the government bodies in the United Kingdom will accept an unenrolled deed poll, like the ones provided by the UK Deed Poll Office. By enrolling a deed poll, you are only making a permanent public record of your change of name.
One of the only advantages of enrolling a deed poll is having a copy of your original deed poll kept safely on record by a government body.
At the same time, there are several disadvantages of enrolling a deed poll:
The procedure of deed poll enrolment was introduced more than 150 years ago, at a time when it was common to change the name by Royal Licence or by private Act of Parliament and advertise the change in The Times or another newspaper. Today, it is extremely rare to change the name this way. In fact, the last Act of Parliament to change a name was done more than 100 years ago.
The main reason someone would still choose to enrol their deed poll is to make sure that they are using the correct and official way to change their name. However, most people nowadays prefer to apply for an unenrolled deed poll online, which is the simplest, fastest, and cheapest way to legally change your name.