New rules on company names

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The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 (the Regulations) came into force on 31 January 2015. The Regulations reduce the list of “sensitive” words which require approval to their use. Words that previously required approval but which do not under the Regulations include “National”, “International”, “European”, “Group”, “Holding” and “United Kingdom”.

The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading) Regulations 2015 also came into force on 31 January 2015. These regulations also make changes regarding company names, in particular:

  • extending the list of characters that can be used in a company name to include accents and diacritical marks amending the words to be considered or disregarded if a name proposed to be registered is the same as a name already registered. Words that have been removed from the “same as” list include “Export”, “Imports”, “Group”, “Holdings”, “International” and “Services”amending the trading disclosures requirement so that where at least six companies operate from or are registered at one office or place it will no longer be necessary to display the details of all companies at the site. It will suffice for the information to be held and made available on request.

WM comment
The relaxation of the company name regime, though not particularly radical, is to be welcomed. For example, at present, if a company wants to have the word “Holding” in its name it must write to Companies House seeking permission and providing evidence that it holds over 50 per cent of the shares in a subsidiary or that it will do so within the next three months. Whilst not an onerous burden to discharge, it can be a nuisance nonetheless.