Friday 10 March 2006

A legal conundrum.

Yet again, I stop being informative for a minute to ask for advice.

In Scotland, there is no such thing as deed poll. If you want to change your name, you simply do so, with no lawyers necessary unless you change your name to "The Coca-Cola Company" and start selling fizzy brown drinks. As far as the law is concerned, your legal name is whatever you call yourself. I've always thought that this is fundamentally the right approach: it should be you who tells the authorities what your name is, not the other way around.

In the rest of the UK, the name on your birth certificate or adoption certificate is your name unless you get a lawyer to register an official change with the state.

So my question is: what happens if a Scot changes their name and then moves to England? Does their name legally revert until they go through deed poll? Or are they legally allowed to use the name that they had when they arrived in England, regardless of what may be on their birth certificate? And what happens if an Englishman moves to Scotland, changes his name, then leaves Scotland?

Oh, the problems of having two overlapping legal systems.

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