A common question we receive is “can I change my title by deed poll?”. And the answer, well, it depends. As with a lot of legal scenarios there is no straightforward yes or no answer.
In this blog post we will take a look at a number of situations in which changing your title by deed poll is appropriate and a brief look at those that are unlikely to be accepted.
What is a Title? Is it Part of Your Name?
Again this isn’t a straightforward question. In order to determine whether or not your title forms part of your legal name, we must first look at the structure and naming conventions of the United Kingdom.
It is widely accepted that the constituent parts of a legal name are the forename and surname. For example ROBERT SMITH would be the legal name of Mr Robert Smith. In this example the title is a customary salutation and not part of the name.
Wait just a minute though,… this isn’t always the case. For example, those with titles of nobility are able to claim the title as a component of the legal name. In this scenario BARONESS SMITH would be a legal name, with the noble title substituting the forename.
Customary Titles vs Noble Titles
Customary titles are the general salutations we use in everyday life, excluding titles of nobility. For example Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms are all customary titles and therefore don't form a part of the legal name of the holder. Similarly genderless or gender-neutral titles such as Mx are salutations and not part of your legal name.
Professional titles such as Professor, Doctor or Reverend are also classified as customary titles. There is no legal right to assume such a title unless you have achieved the relevant qualification or are a member of a recognised institution or body.
So Can I Change My Title by Deed Poll Declaration?
The bottom line is, under English Law, you are free to be known as and addressed by any name you choose, so long as it is not done with the intention of defrauding anyone or intentionally misleading.
You can change your title by deed poll to Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms or any of the recognised gender-neutral titles including Mx. There is no general right for a person to assume a professional title. Titles of nobility and Honours are protected by Law and assuming such a title may constitute an offence under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925.
Taking the next step...
The UK Deed Poll Service is the UK's biggest and best deed poll specialist. We have produced over a million change of name declarations and certified copies, for hundreds of thousands of customers. Our staff are online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week helping our clients negotiate the name change process and providing free impartial advice. Whether you choose to apply for a deed poll with ourselves or not, feel free to contact us using the online chat function should you have any questions or concerns.