Changes to UK company law: New rules for company names

News article

Under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, there are new rules for company names.

Companies House is running stronger checks on company names which may give a false or misleading impression to the public. This aims to improve the accuracy and quality of the data Companies House hold and help them tackle the misuse of company names.

New powers to challenge and change company names

Companies House can now reject an application to register a name where they have reason to believe:

  • the name is intended to facilitate fraud
  • the name is comprised of or contains a computer code
  • the name is likely to give the false impression the company is connected to a foreign government or an international organisation whose members include two or more countries or territories (or their governments)

Companies House can also direct companies to change their name. If a company fails to change its name within 28 days, it can now determine a new name for the company, for example, changing the company name to its registered company number. Companies House can suppress a name from the register while a company responds to a direction to change its name.

Failure to comply

If a company does not respond to a direction to change its company name within 28 days, an offence is committed. It’s also an offence to continue using a company name that Companies House has directed to change.

See changes to UK company law to take effect on 4 March 2024.

First published 8 May 2024