The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 (Regulations) came into force on 31 January.

These Regulations introduce a reduced list of the sensitive words and expressions which companies, LLPs and businesses need approval from the Secretary of State to use in their names.  A total of 26 words have been deleted from the list, some of the more significant being 'National', 'European', 'Group', 'Holding', 'International' and 'United Kingdom'. 

The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 (Trading Disclosure Regulations) also came into force on 31 January. The Trading Disclosure Regulations replace five sets of regulations and deal with restrictions relating to the registered names of companies and LLPs and to business names and the requirements for making trading disclosures.   As a result:

  • a wider range of characters, signs, symbols and punctuation will be permitted to be used in a company name
  • where at least six companies operate from or are registered at one office, place or location it will no longer be necessary to display the details of all companies at the site.  Instead the details can be recorded and made available for inspection on request
  • under section 66 of the Companies Act 2006, a company cannot be registered with the same name as an existing company. The rules relating to when a name may be considered the "same as" another have been amended in two respects:
    • certain words are to be disregarded in determining whether names are different.  This list has been reduced by deleting "Export", "Group", "Holdings", "Imports", "International" and "Services" so that, for example, "Catering Exports Limited" will be considered to be different from "Catering Imports Limited" whereas currently they are treated as the same.  This should make it easier for groups of companies to choose names
    • Conversely, changes are being made so that names which would not have been considered the same now will be. For example, "Stone Company Limited" and "Stone and Company Limited" are not currently treated as being the same but will be under the new regime.

The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 can be found here and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum here.

The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2015 can be found here and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum here.