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Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing a company name

You will, of course, need to choose a name for your new company. The name you choose must not be identical or the ‘same as’ an existing limited company, even if you are already using the name as a sole trader or partnership.  

The ‘same as’ rule means that Companies House will disregard certain words, and any spacing or punctuation when deciding if your name is the ‘same as’ an existing company. For example, if there is an existing company called Hands Limited you would not be able to register:

Hands Ltd
Hands Plc or public limited company
Hand-s Limited
Hands UK Limited
Hands Company Limited
The Hands Limited
H & S Limited
H and S Limited
H & S Services Limited
Hands.com limited (or .co.uk, .net etc)

Other words disregarded include: Services, International, Group, Holdings, Import, Export, Company, GB, Great Britain, UK, and United Kingdom. 

The only exception to this is if the company will be part of the same group as the existing company, then it may be allowed. 

Just to complicate things further there are also ‘Sensitive words’. These are usually words that need special authorisation to use. For example, if you want to use Nurse, Solicitor, or Architect in your name, you will need to prove that one of the directors is registered as such.

 Also if you want to use words like Group, Holdings, or International, you will need to be able to show that you are a group of companies, a holding company, or trading in at least 2 other countries.

If you are not sure about your company name, please get in touch and we will be able to advise you.

What is the Registered Office? 

By law every company must have a registered office. It must be a real address, i.e. a physical location where it is possible to accept service of documents. However, the registered office does not have to be the place of business. Some companies will for example, use their accountants address.

What is a directors service address? 

Every director must give details of their residential address, but may also register a service address. This can be the registered office, residential address, or another address where it is possible to accept service of documents. This address will be shown on the public record, and if it is the same as the residential address it will not be apparent on the public record.

 Can anyone be a director? 

Mostly, but there are some exceptions. The only restrictions are that they must not have been disqualified from acting as a company director, they must not be an undischarged bankrupt, and they must be aged 16 yrs or over.

How many directors do I need to have? 

For all types expect PLC’s and LLP’s you only need one director. You can also have a secretary but this is optional.  For PLC’s you will need at least 2 directors, and a qualified secretary. LLP’s must have at least 2 directors.

What is the Memorandum & Articles of Association?

The Memorandum is a statement of intent by the subscribers (or shareholders) to form a limited company and become members of that company on incorporation.

Before the new Companies Act came into force on 1st October 2009 the Memorandum used to show the objects, and authorised share capital of the company, but these have both been removed by the new Act.

 The Articles are the company’s rulebook. They are chosen by the members and form a contract between the company and its members. They help to ensure the company’s business runs as smoothly as possible and will set out how the company will make decisions and will include various matters connected with shares. Every company is required to have articles by law, and the articles are legally binding on the company and all of its members.

 Find out why we use the ACRA Articles instead of the model Articles as shown in the 2006 Act

Douglas Company Services Ltd : Regent House : 316 Beulah Hill : London : SE19 3HF    Tel.020 7112 5166 :
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