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Incorporating a Company or Looking to Change the Name of your Company?

Two sets of Regulations have recently come into force in relation to restrictions on company names.  Although this is not new legislation, the content of the Regulations should be noted. 

Whether you are incorporating a new company or looking to change the name of your existing company, there are what is described as ‘sensitive words and expressions’, the inclusion of which in your company name may require consent from an appropriate authority.  The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 supersedes previous legislation covering such restrictions.  The list of words requiring consent still however contains some of the more common examples; ‘Scotland’, ‘Britain’, and ‘Society’.  The aim of the 2014 Regulations is to provide company officers with guidance to follow which will hopefully lead to an appropriate company name being chosen and avoid a rejection being received from Companies House. 

The second set of Regulations, The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 provides a definitive list of specific characters that are permitted to be included in a company name.  The 2015 Regulations also reiterate the already known general rule that no two companies can have the same name (unless of course there is prior consent and other conditions are met).  In determining whether company names are in fact too similar,  certain phrases, words and characters are disregarded; the 2015 Regulations sets these out in the Schedules attached to the Regulations.  Examples of words and phrases that are considered too similar include ‘and’ and ‘&’ and ‘£’ and ‘pound’. 

The 2015 Regulations also state that the company’s name must be clearly visible at the company’s registered office and any other location at which their company books can be inspected.  Display of the company name is not however required where the business is run from home and the registered office is a residential premises.  With regard to business communications, these must all display the company name and in addition, companies are required to include their registered office location and full address and registered number in letterheads, order forms and websites.  Company Directors and Secretaries should take particular note that where a company fails to comply with these Regulations, the company and the officers of the company shall be guilty of an offence.

If you are a director of a company and are unsure of your responsibilities (whether in relation to these sets of Regulations or generally) or you are considering incorporating a company, making amendments to your company structure or have any company administration queries, please do not hesitate to contact Kirstin Ejsmont or call 01224 632464.


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