Companies FAQ

Q. How can I check if a name is available?

Use our Company Search facility

Q. What restrictions are there when selecting a name?

A. The name you choose must not already be registered. The name most not be deemed offensive, or be associated with the government or local authority. There are also certain sensitive words which must be avoided. To view the list of sensitive words CLICK HERE

Q. Under which circumstances can I register a name which is the same as another in the registrar's index of company names?

A. From October 2009 companies may, in certain circumstances, register a name which is the same as another in the index of company name. For example, "XXX limited" and "XXX (UK) limited". This will only be permitted if the company to be registered forms or is to form part of the same group as the company whose name is already on the index. Companies wishing to apply for a name under these circumstances will need to send a written consent from the company already in the registrar's index indicating that the company forms or is to form part of the same group as the company already on register.

Q. Will companies exempt under the Companies Act 1985 from using "limited" in the company name and from requirements in relation to publication of company name remain exempt after October 2009?

A. Yes. Section 60 of the Companies Act 2006 continues the exemption of section 30 of the Companies Act 1985 for companies already exempt so long as they continue to meet the conditions and until they change their name.

Q. Will the rules of objection to similar names change in October 2008?

A. Yes. From October 2008 some new rules will apply under sections 69 to 74 of the Companies Act 2006. These will allow complaints to be made where a company has been registered with the intention of extracting money from the complainant or to prevent him from registering a name in which he has goodwill ("opportunistic registration"). More information about the Company Names Tribunal and the cost associated with this service is available at

Q. Who can object to a company name under these new rules?

A. Any person or company can object about a company name.

Q. Can an objection to a company name on the grounds of opportunistic registration be sent to Companies House?

A. No. All objections about opportunistic registration must be sent to the new and independent Company Names Tribunal (also known as 'Adjudicator'), who will be based at the UK Intellectual Property Office. Companies House is only responsible for 'too like' and 'same as' objections.

Q. What will happen if the complaint for opportunistic registration is upheld?

A. The Company Names Tribunal may make an order to direct the company to change its name. If the company fails to comply the Tribunal may choose a new name for the company.

Q. Can a company appeal to the Company Names Tribunal's decision?

A. Yes, a company can appeal to the High Court

Q. Will these new rules apply to companies registered before October 2008?

A. Yes. The rules of the Company Names Tribunal will be retrospective.