That name does not necessarily need to be supported by any documentary evidence though such evidence is often required for a wide range of administrative and legal matters. For most people this evidence is most commonly provided and accepted in the form of a birth certificate, which may be supported by a marriage certificate in the case of a change of name on marriage.
There is no formality prescribed by law for the change of a person’s name or the assumption of another name. You may change the name you commonly use by simply adopting a new name. However, you will, most likely, experience some difficulty evidencing the change to both public and private bodies in the absence of a document referring to the change. If you require evidence in the form of documentary confirmation of a change of name, other than on marriage, you may need to execute a document called a deed poll.
Changing name by deed poll
A deed poll is an official document drawn up and completed by one party only. It is most often used to declare an intention to change one’s name.
Procedure for executing a deed poll
You do not need to instruct a solicitor or attend the High Court to execute a deed poll and you are not required to lodge (or ‘enrol’) the document in the Central Office of the High Court.
Execution of a deed poll is a relatively simple process. The person declares to have given up a former name and adopted a new name for all purposes. The deed must be printed on Deed Paper (which is available from legal stationers), signed in the former name and the new name and in the presence of a witness.
The witness must be 18 years or over, must sign the deed poll as witness and must swear an affidavit (called an ‘affidavit of attesting witness’) before a solicitor or commissioner for oaths stating that they witnessed the signing of the deed poll.
A copy of the deed poll and the affidavit of attesting witness must be provided to the office with the original documents. The copies must also be on Deed Paper.
These documents can then be used with your birth certificate as evidence of change of name.
Other than a minimal fee for swearing the affidavit before the solicitor or commissioner for oaths, there is no further fee involved.
NOTE: if you are a non-EU national, you will require the permission of the Minister for Justice and Equality under section 9 of the Aliens Act 1935 to change your name.
Additional procedure for enrolling the deed
There is no requirement to enrol a deed poll in order to change your name. A deed poll enrolled in the Central Office of the High Court has no greater effect than a deed poll which has not been enrolled. The enrolment of a deed poll in the Central Office is a facility which the Registrar of the Central Office Court provides according to custom and practice so that you may place your change of name on a publicly accessible record. The Register of Deeds Poll is publicly searchable.
This has the effect of putting the wider world on notice that you have decided to change your name.
In addition, enrolling the deed poll means that a record of the change of name is preserved for future identification and a certified copy of the original enrolled deed poll can be obtained if required.
To enrol a deed poll in the High Court, in addition to a deed poll executed correctly in the manner set out above, the following criteria apply:
- (i) You must provide evidence of your previous name (e.g. a birth certificate, marriage certificate, previous name change by deed poll, Certificate of Naturalisation).
- (ii) If you are a non-EU national, you must produce a licence to change your name by deed poll, issued by the Minister for Justice & Equality pursuant to the section 9 of the Aliens Act 1935.
- (iii) You must provide photographic proof of identification
- (iv) You must pay €60.00 stamp duty on the deed poll
- (v) You must complete an application form to enrol a deed poll which includes an acknowledgement that enrolling the deed results in it being available for public inspection and published on the Courts Service website.