Coalition pushing for greater freedom on company naming


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Legal, News

Upping their legislation-slashing game in the name of helping small businesses, the coalition is debating whether to cut the red tape around company names, easing up the restrictions imposed on so-called ‘sensitive words’.

Currently, any aspiring limited company can be forced to omit certain words on the grounds that they risk misleading customers or causing offence. Totalling 161 words, inside this ‘sensitive’ list you’ll find terms like ‘abortion’, ‘royal’ and ‘society’.

The Government is now asking whether the sensitive list should be scrapped, or at the very least become more selective, in an effort to speed up and simplify the incorporation process.

As is the standard for this sort of thing, trees have been sacrificed at the expense of a 28-page document inviting views and opinions on the matter. So it might be some time before you can go dip into the sensitive word bank.

Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction for those wanting to form their own company. The document outlines two potential options;

  • To repeal one of five statutory instruments covering the naming regime, giving companies the freedom to choose any name without requiring approval (so long as it is not offensive, is not the same as a company name already in use and does not suggest a connection with Government).
  • The  retention of a list “only for those words for which there is a clear criterion for approval and clear value in retention” which would still also make it easier and quicker to register a name.

The initial response to the proposals have been positive amongst businesses, no wonder when there’s 115 government regulations covering the day-to-day running of a company. Let’s hope this doesn’t go the way of the small business bank and disappear off the radar.

Whilst we’re on the subject, check out our guide to coming up with a company name - and if you’re ready to take the plunge, check out GoLimited.

Photo by Alan Stanton

  • Bobby

    Looking forward to incorporating The Royal Society of I. C. Boners Ltd

    • Jon Norris

      Clever people have been finding ways around the sensitive words list for years. See “Pheasant Pluckers Ltd” etc.