Company names

Having secured the company name of your choice for your limited company, you need to be aware of your obligations to display that company name

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Displaying the registered name at company premises

Every trading company must display its registered name at its registered office and at any other ‘inspection place'. This would be any location where the company keeps its statutory documents available for inspection. The registered name also has to be displayed at any location where the company carries on business. There are some exceptions:

  • It is not necessary to display the registered name at a location which is primarily used for living accommodation.
  • Where a liquidator, administrator or administrative receiver has been appointed the company will no longer have to display its registered name at any premises which are also the place of business of those insolvency specialists.
  • Where the residential address of every director of the company is subject to a confidentiality order, the company does not have to display its registered name at any place at which it carries on business (but must still display its name at the company's registered office and any inspection place for the company's records).

The company name must be displayed in characters that can be read with the naked eye and must be positioned so that they can easily be seen by any visitor to the premises. The name must be displayed continuously unless the premises are shared by six or more companies, in which case:

  • each company must display its registered name for at least 15 continuous seconds at least once every three minutes) or
  • the registered name must be on a register kept at the premises and available for inspection on request.

Details for company stationery and websites

The company must disclose its registered name on:

  • its business letters, notices and other official publications;
  • its bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements and order forms;
  • cheques purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the company;
  • orders for money, goods or services purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the company;
  • its bills of parcels, invoices and other demands for payment, receipts and letters of credit;
  • its applications for licences to carry on a trade or activity;
  • all other forms of its business correspondence and documentation; and
  • its websites.

The registered name need not appear on every page of the website but should be displayed where it can be easily seen..

Every company also has to disclose the part of the United Kingdom in which it is registered, its registered number and its registered office address on:

  • its business letters;
  • its order forms; and
  • its websites.

If a company is exempt from the obligation to use the word ‘limited' in its name, or is a private limited community interest company, it must also state that it is a limited company. If it is an investment company, it must state that fact.

There is no requirement to state the names of the directors, but if any director is named (other than as signatory to a communication or in the text), they must all be named.

If the company is registered for VAT, its VAT registration number must be shown on VAT invoices and receipts.

About the author: Helen Goose is Corporate Law Manager, Jordans Corporate Law Limited

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