UK Deed Poll
A deed poll is a legal document made and executed by a single party (be it a single person acting alone or multiple people acting as one), as opposed to two or more parties in a standard deed, and is often used in (England and Wales) to change a name. The term comes from the fact that the document is 'polled' rather than 'cut', as would be the case between deeds between two or more parties.
Deed polls are often more costly than a Statutory Declaration but need not be, as they can be printed from home and are valid if signed before a witness. You can now print your own Deed Poll through T-Vox for free.
England and Wales
Under English law (the law governing England and Wales) a deed of change of name may be registered in the Central Office of the High Court and will be in the London Gazette.
A deed of name change on behalf of a minor must be approved by the Senior Master on behalf of the Master of the Rolls who will take into account the child's best interests.
Registration of deeds is regulated by The Enrollment of Deeds (Change of Name) Regulations 1994, Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 604. The text of the Act is available for viewing here.
The following is an example deed of change of name. If you are only changing your forenames and keeping your original surname, your original surname must be entered where it states <NEW SURNAME ONLY>
In difference to the laws of the rest of the United Kingdom, deed polls do not exist in Scottish law. Instead, anyone whose birth is registered in Scotland need only inform people and organisations (eg. their bank and their GP) of their new name and then use it for two years. After this two-year period the person may apply to the Registrar General for Scotland to have their birth certificate amended to show the new name.
The Registrar General will require proof that the person has been living under their new name before an updated birth certificate can be issued. This can be provided in the form of a driving licence, passport, NHS medical card, etc in the new name.