To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he plans to exempt non-binary and transgender people from plans to only allow enrolled deed polls to be accepted as proof of name change.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what consultation there has been with groups representing transgender and non-binary people on plans to only allow enrolled deed polls to be accepted as proof of name change.
The Master of the Rolls has established a Judicial Working Group to review and revise the current regulations for the enrolled deed process.
The Group is looking at a number of aspects of the existing regulations, and one of the issues is the current requirement for name changes to be publicly advertised, as part of the process, in the London Gazette.
A proposal under consideration by the Group is that the regulations are reformed so that the court would have a discretion on the need for, or terms of, an advertisement where there are sensitivities about a name change being made public. Examples would be name changes to reflect changes in gender and binary identification, as well as to protect people who wish to change their name following an abusive relationship. Guidance to applicants is also being reviewed as part of the reform process.
The Group is also considering public interest issues where an advertisement would be desirable, for example to place on record a change of name by a registered offender.
Home Office Ministers have written to the Master of Rolls and the Lord Chief Justice requesting that the Group considers criminality in regard to the enrolled deed poll process. Once the Group has completed its work, we will consider whether it is necessary to amend existing Home Office guidance to better protect the public.
Should a change be made to the guidance, we will take careful consideration of the potential impacts of that amendment including for European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 rights and the protection of the people who have changed their name to avoid danger.
Current Home Office Use and Change of Name guidance sets out that where there is a need to protect persons from risk of harm, separate arrangements should be implemented which protect the identity of the person who is seeking to change their name.
In addition, the policy sets out that transgender foreign nationals whose national authorities do not recognise changes to names and/or gender in their passports or national identity cards will be able to obtain a Biometric Residence Permit in their acquired name and gender, providing the person can demonstrate they are using the acquired name and gender for all purposes.