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Mark,
29 December, 23
The solicitor who was appointed to me was outstanding
Very simple to engage with instant confirmation in writing straight after. Daniel, the solicitor who was appointed to me, was outstanding in his approach, his understanding of the technicalities of the law and, crucially, a genuine care for the client. Would definitely advise using Lawhive, you won't regret it.
Tahir Idris,
04 October, 23
We were so pleased to find the Lawhive website
After struggling to find a solicitor willing to give us advice, and for a reasonable cost, we were so pleased to find the Lawhive website. At first we wondered how well it would work, but needn't have worried at all - the whole process was simple, straightforward and professional and great value for money. We felt extremely lucky to be matched with our solicitor, Sonay Erten, as she was exactly what we were looking for - knowledgeable, patient and kind - a refreshing change from solicitors we have used in the past. She showed a great deal of empathy for our situation and explained things in language that was easy to understand (rather than the usual "solicitor" talk, which can be intimidating). She's a shining example of what a solicitor should aspire to be and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to others or use her again in the future. We came out of our session reassured and confident of what we needed to do going forward, so a big "thank you!"
Julie Taylor,
01 June, 23
Fast and professional
I got the outcome I wanted regarding cease and desist to a competitor spreading defamatory statements about my business. Fast and professional, and at a much lower price than high street firms. Highly recommended thanks.
Jason Hunter,
23 July, 23
Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
I found the website very easy to use. Quick responses and I was even able to talk to someone who was friendly and competent. She rang me rather than emailed me. A solicitor was quickly found who could help me and once the relevant identification was approved he started work. Within two days the solicitor had checked documents and commented on them. Very efficient! Can highly recommend.
Pauline Piper,
15 February, 23
The service was fast and ultra professional
Sonay was really informative and understood my questions instantly, what I thought was complex Sonay simplified massively. She regularly checked in and the service was fast and ultra professional. Would highly recommend.
Jamie Crichton,
09 November, 23
Great service and very reasonably priced,
Great service and very reasonably priced, Kem was really helpful and professional. Would use again
Sarah Shanks,
21 November, 23
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About

Changing a company name is a process that requires the consent of the shareholders and the company's directors. Solicitors can ensure that the process is carried out correctly and that the company name is changed legally.Next steps

How much does it cost to Change a Company Name?

The cost for a licensed solicitor to Change a Company Name is dependent on many factors including the complexity and specific requirements of the case. On average it is expected to range from £80-£150 but in some cases it could cost as much as £600.

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Changing a Company Name

Changing your company's name can signal a positive shift towards new horizons. However, this transformation involves legal steps, requirements, and implications that must be approached with precision and care.

In the UK, changing a company name involves more than selecting a catchy new name and identity. You must also comply with specific legal frameworks, engage with Companies House, and consider the impact on stakeholders and market presence.

Whether you're rebranding for strategic alignment, responding to a merger acquisition, or breathing new life into your company's image, our network of corporate solicitors is on hand to provide expert legal assistance and support throughout the process for fixed fees.

Contact our Legal Assessment Team today for a free case evaluation and quote to get started.

Why might someone decide to change a company name?

Rebranding

A company may change its name as part of a rebranding effort to reposition itself in the market. This could stem from shifts in company strategy, target audience, or product/service offerings, intending to better align with the company's current identity and future trajectory.

For instance, Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer until 2007, dropped 'Computer' from its name to reflect its expansion beyond computers into consumer electronics and media services like the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes.

Following a merger or acquisition

Similarly, a company might change its name following a merger or acquisition to represent the newly formed entity.

Negative publicity

In unfortunate situations where a company's name becomes associated with negative publicity or controversies, a name change can serve as a strategic maneuver to distance the business from adverse perceptions.

Expanding into international markets

Expanding into international markets may also lead to a name change to resonate better or avoid unintended meanings in different languages or cultures.

Are you considering changing your company name? Contact us today for expert legal guidance and support.

Changing a company name in the UK involves meeting specific legal requirements and following steps to be sure the change is legally recognised and reflected in all official records. Firstly, the company must pass a special resolution to change its name. This can be achieved by holding a general meeting of the shareholders or through a written resolution if permitted by the company's articles of association.

In some cases, the board of directors may also have the authority to change the company name without a shareholders' vote, depending on the articles of association. Once the resolution is passed, the company must file an NM01 form with Companies House, accompanied by the required fee. This form notifies Companies House of the intended name change.

However, before filing the form, it's essential to ensure the new name is available and complies with all naming rules stipulated by Companies House. The name must not be identical or too similar to another registered company's name, and it must not include prohibited terms without approval. Legally, the company's name change must end with a legal suffix such as "Limited" or "Ltd" for limited companies or "PLC" for public limited companies, unless exemptions apply. Upon receipt of the NM01 form and payment, Companies House will review the application to verify that the company's name meets all legal requirements. If approved, Companies House will issue a certificate of incorporation on change of name, confirming the name change officially. Following approval, the company must update its Articles of Association and all statutory registers, records, and signage to reflect the new name.

Additionally, the company is legally required to inform relevant stakeholders, including clients, suppliers, banks, and financial institutions, of its new name to ensure contractual and operational continuity.

How do I choose a new company name?

First, you should check if any of your proposed names are too similar to existing registered names. You can perform a broad internet search to see if your potential names are already in use or have significant associations elsewhere.

You also need to make sure that the company name doesn’t include any sensitive or prohibited terms unless you have official permission.

For example, words like "Royal" or "Bank" have restrictions.

You should also conduct a trademark search to be sure your proposed name doesn’t infringe on any existing trademarks. This can help avoid legal complications related to intellectual property rights.

What is the process for changing a company name?

Decision-making and initial approval

Hold a board meeting to discuss the need for a name change and consider potential new names. This step may involve preliminary research into name availability and compliance with legal requirements.

You should also get approval from the shareholders at this stage. This is typically done through a special resolution, which requires a 75% majority vote in favour of the change.

The resolution can be passed at a general meeting or through a written resolution if permitted by the company’s articles of association.

Check name availability and compliance

You should make sure the new name is not already in use or too similar to an existing name on the Companies House register.

The name must also comply with any restrictions or sensitivities (e.g., it cannot suggest governmental affiliation without permission).

Conduct a trademark search to ensure your proposed name doesn’t infringe on existing trademarks.

Then, complete the NM01 Form with Companies House to apply for the name change.

This form must be accompanied by the special resolution and appropriate fee.

You can apply online via the Companies House WebFiling service or send it by post.

Receive confirmation from companies house

Once Companies House approves the application, they will issue a new certificate of incorporation reflecting the company name change.

This document is legal proof of the name change and the date it took effect.

Update company records and materials

You should then update your company’s statutory books, including the register of members and the Articles of Association, to reflect the new name.

Make sure you inform all relevant parties, such as banks, clients, suppliers, and regulatory bodies, of your new company name. And don't forget to update your website, business cards, letterhead, and marketing materials to reflect the new name!

Communicate the change

All employees should be informed about the name change and understand any implications it may have on their work.

You might consider a public announcement or marketing campaign to inform existing and potential customers of the name change.

Review and update, where necessary, any legal contracts or agreements to include your new company name.

Be sure to notify all regulatory bodies and organisations your company is registered with or licensed by, ensuring all records are up to date.

Online presence and intellectual property

The final step is to secure domain names that match or are closely related to your new company name. Update your company’s name on all social media profiles and online platforms.

You might consider registering the new name as a trademark to protect your brand identity.

Who do I have to tell when changing a company name?

When changing a company name, there are lots of stakeholders that need to be consulted with and informed about. 

First, there are the legal and regulatory bodies that need to know to make sure your company stays compliant. They include Companies House, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and other regulatory bodies that your business might operate within, like financial services or healthcare. 

Secondly, you must tell your legal advisors so they can update any legal documents, contracts, and agreements that are likely to be affected by the company name change.

Furthermore, if you lease your office space or own property, tell your landlord or property management company so they can update lease agreements and records. 

You will also need to update your banking details, including account names to reflect the new company name. This might include lenders, credit card companies, and any investment accounts associated with your business. You should also, tell your insurers to update your policies, so your cover continues without interruption. 

Inform your suppliers and service providers about the name change to make sure invoices, orders, and contracts are correctly addressed.

Clients and customers also need to know, which you can do through direct communication, a press release, or announcements on your website and social media channels. 

Let’s not forget about your internal stakeholders - the heart and soul of your company. Make sure you notify your employees of the name change, and that you explain the reasons behind the change.

Finally, don't forget the importance of intellectual property protection. If your old company name was trademarked, you might need to apply for a new trademark for the new name to protect your brand legally. 

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Do I need my company’s agreement to change a company name?

Changing a company name requires formal agreement from your company through specific internal governance procedures. The precise process will vary based on your company's structure, type, and governing documents.

Typically, this process begins with the board of directors discussing and agreing to propose a name change. Following boarding approavl, the next step is to gain approval from the shareholders. In the UK, this is usually achieved through a special resolution, requiring at least a 75% majority vote in favour of the change.

A company's Articles of Association may outline specific procedures for changing the company name, including voting protocols and any additional thresholds beyond legal requirements.

A formal agreement ensures compliance with the Companies Act 2006 and other relevant legal frameworks, legitimising the new name in the eyes of the law.

Additionally, requiring shareholder approval safeguards their interests by ensuring that significant decisions, such as a name change, have broad support and align with the company's strategic direction.

How can I avoid intellectual property infringement when changing a company name?

When it comes to changing a company name, you need to make sure the new name doesn’t infringe on any existing trademarks or copyrights.

You could start by using the UK Intellectual Property Office’s (UKIPO) online search tool to check for identical or similar trademarks to your proposed new name. You also should consider not only the name itself but also similar-sounding names or spellings.

Additionally, you can use the Companies House online search to ensure no other company is registered under the same or a very similar name.

A broad internet search can also identify any businesses operating with the same or a similar name, even if they haven’t registered their names as trademarks. This can include searching social media platforms and domain name registries.

Pay attention to the geographical coverage of similar trademarks found. Trademarks are territorial, so a trademark registered in one country might not prevent you from using a similar name in another country, but exceptions exist, especially for well-known brands.

At this point, it might also be a good idea to consult with an Intellectual Property lawyer who can provide tailored advice and help you avoid any potential hiccups along the way. 

You should also consider getting a formal trademark clearance opinion from your lawyer. This document assesses the risk of infringement based on a thorough search and legal analysis, offering an informed perspective on whether to proceed with a particular name.

How can I avoid unlawful names when changing a company name?

First, familiarise yourself with the criteria that make a company name unlawful or unacceptable in the area where your company is registered. 

In the UK, certain restrictions include:

  • Names that imply governmental affiliation: Without explicit permission, you cannot use names that suggest affiliation with the government or public authorities.

  • Offensive names: Names that could be considered offensive or inappropriate are not allowed.

  • Protected terms: Certain words or phrases can only be used with specific permissions. These include titles like "Bank", "Trust", "Royal", and others that might suggest a specific status or accreditation.

Avoid misleading the public about your company’s nature of business size or affiliation. For example, using the word ‘group’ in a small company name without justification could be misleading. 

If the name you propose includes sensitive words or expressions that are regulated, you might need to get some approval from the appropriate authority or justify their use. This process will all depend on the word and the context in which you intend to use it. 

Finally, don't adopt or use the new company name until it has been confirmed and approved by Companies House, otherwise, you could be operating illegally! 

How do I get permission in the company’s Articles of Association to change a company name?

Getting permission to change a company name through the Articles of Association involves a process that may require amending the Articles themselves, depending on their current provisions. 

Typically, the Articles of Association will outline the process for making significant decisions, including changing the company name. However, if you want to specifically include or clarify this process within your Articles, or if your current Articles don't explicitly address changing the company name, you'll need to follow a formal procedure to amend them.

First, carefully review your existing Articles of Association to understand the procedures for making amendments. This review will help determine if a special resolution or another process is required to change or grant permission for changing the company name.

If you're adding a new provision or modifying an existing one to grant permission for changing the company name through a simpler process (e.g., board approval rather than a full shareholder vote), draft the specific changes you propose. A corporate solicitor can help with this should you need it.

Before proceeding, it may be wise to consult with key stakeholders, including directors and major shareholders, to gauge their support for the change.

Notify shareholders of a general meeting to discuss and vote on the proposed amendments to the Articles of Association. The notice should include details of the proposed changes and any relevant documentation for shareholders to review before the meeting. The required notice period will depend on your current Articles and the Companies Act 2006, but it's typically at least 14 days.

Once the special resolution is passed, file the necessary documents with Companies House within 15 days. This includes a copy of the resolution and the amended Articles of Association. Companies House will review the submission to ensure compliance with the law before recording the changes.

After the amendment is accepted, update your company records to reflect the new Articles of Association. This includes replacing previous versions of the Articles in your official records and informing relevant stakeholders of the change.

How much does it cost to change a company name?

The cost to change a company name in the UK varies depending on the method used for filing the change with Companies House. 

Currently, as of April 2024, the fees include:

  • Standard Service (Online Submission): £8

Changing your company name online is the most efficient and cost-effective method. The £8 fee applies when you submit the NM01 form via the Companies House WebFiling service.

The online process is not only cheaper but also faster, with changes typically processed in 24 hours.

  • Standard Service (Paper Submission): £10

If you choose to submit the NM01 form by post, the fee increases slightly. This method takes longer for the change to be processed, often several days from the receipt of the form by Companies House.

  • Same-Day Service (Online or Paper Submission): £30

For an expedited service, where the change of name needs to be processed the same day, Companies House charges £30.

This service requires the application to be submitted before 3 pm on a day that Companies House is open for business.

For the same-day service via paper submission, you must mark the envelope with “Same Day Change of Name” to ensure it is processed promptly.

Beyond the Companies House filing fee, there may be additional costs associated with changing your company name, such as legal advice, updating branding materials, notifying stakeholders, and trademark registration. These costs will all be relative to your company’s needs. 

How long does it take to change a company name?

If you submit your application to change your company name online via the Companies House WebFiling service, the process is typically quick, with changes often processed within 24 hours.

For a higher fee, Companies House offers a same-day service for online applications received before 3 pm on a business day. If all documents are in order and the fee is paid, the name change can be processed on the same day.

Paper submissions take slightly longer to process than online submissions. If you send your NM01 form and payment by post, you can expect the name change to be processed within 5 to 10 working days, depending on Companies House's workload.

A same-day service is also available for paper submissions, provided the application arrives before 3 pm on a business day, is marked for same-day service, and includes the appropriate fee. The change will then be processed on the same day.

Before submission, factor in the time needed to pass the special resolution (either at a general meeting or through written resolution), which can vary depending on how quickly you can organise and receive votes from shareholders.

After Companies House approves the name change, you'll need to update your company records, notify stakeholders, and revise branding materials. The time required for these steps varies based on the size of your company and the scope of changes to your branding and communications.

Once Companies House approves the change and issues a certificate of incorporation on the change of name, your company can start operating under the new name.

However, remember that the administrative aspects of updating the new name across all platforms and legal documents can extend well beyond the approval time.

What documents are required for changing a company name?

The primary document required is the NM01 Form, used to notify Companies House of your intention to change your company name.

This form includes sections for your current company name, the new company name, and the declaration of compliance indicating that the name change is being conducted per the company’s Articles of Association. 

When submitting the NM01 form online through the Companies House WebFiling service, you'll typically only need to fill out the form’s fields and pay the fee online. The process is streamlined and designed for efficiency.

Depending on the circumstances of the name change and the specifics of your company’s situation, you may also need a copy of the special resolution passed by the shareholders approving the name change. This document proves that the necessary majority (typically 75%) of shareholders agreed to the name change.

Plus, if your company’s Articles of Association allow for the board of directors to change the company name without a shareholder vote, a copy of the board resolution may be needed.

If the name change also involves amending the Articles of Association (for example, if the company’s name is mentioned within the Articles), you’ll need to submit a copy of the amended Articles.

And, for companies that opt to pass the resolution to change the name without holding a general meeting, a written resolution signed by the requisite number of shareholders will be necessary.

Once your application is approved, Companies House will issue a Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Name. This certificate is crucial as it officially confirms the company's new name and the date the change became effective. You should keep this document with your company records, as it may be required for legal and operational purposes, such as opening bank accounts or entering into contracts.

Changing a company name can have several implications for contracts and legal agreements. While the legal entity behind the name remains the same, which means contracts are still valid, there are practical considerations and steps you should take to ensure clarity and avoid any potential confusion or disputes.

Generally, changing your company's name does not affect the validity or enforceability of existing contracts. Since the company's legal identity (registration number and incorporated entity) remains the same, contracts continue to be in effect. It is however crucial to inform all counterparties to your contracts about the name change. This ensures that future communications, invoices, and legal documents are correctly addressed and helps avoid any confusion.

For clarity and record-keeping, you may need to formally amend contracts to reflect your new company name.

This typically involves drafting an amendment agreement or addendum signed by all parties, stating that any reference to the old company name should be read as referring to the new name.

In some cases, especially for less formal agreements or where the process is stipulated within the contract, a written notice of the name change might suffice.

Banks and other financial institutions should be notified immediately to update your account details and ensure that all financial transactions continue smoothly. For any credit agreements, loans, or financing arrangements, it's important to notify lenders of your name change to avoid any issues with your credit history or loan servicing.

If your business operations require licences or permits, these documents should be updated with the new company name to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements.

Similarly, any professional certifications or accreditations held under the company’s name should be updated to reflect the change.

If you have registered trademarks or patents, consider updating the ownership details to reflect the new company name. While not always legally required, it helps maintain clear records and can be important for enforcement actions.

Notify your insurance providers of the name change to ensure that your coverage remains uninterrupted and that documents reflect the current legal name of your company.

Finally, if you operate internationally, be aware that notifying contractual parties and updating agreements might involve additional steps or compliance with specific local laws.

Change your company’s name with the support of Lawhive

With Lawhive's support, changing your company's name can be a more streamlined and less daunting process.

Our network of expert solicitors can help you navigate the legal complexities, minimise the disruptions to your business, and ensure that your new name lays the foundation for future growth and success.

Get in touch today to get a free case assessment.

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