We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. Click OK to use our website.

Review of business names in drive for legal clarity

13 Aug 2019 / regulation Print

Review of business names in drive for legal clarity

The Registration of Business Names Act 1963 is now under review by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

As part of the review process, the department is seeking submissions from interested parties.

A business name is used to carry on a business by any individual, body corporate or partnership, which has a place of business in the State and where that name is not the same as their true name(s).

If a business is carried on under an assumed name, it may be difficult for a person to ascertain who the legal entity is behind the business supplying the goods or services, and if a cause of action accrues to know ‘who to sue’.

Legal entity

The registration of business names in accordance with the 1963 act enables customers and suppliers to know the legal entity behind a business name. Its main aim is to provide transparency for those doing business.

The act requires registration by:

  • Any individual who trades under a name which is not his/her true name, for example, it would apply to Mr John Murphy if he traded as ‘Murphy Builders’, but not if he traded as ‘Murphy’ or ‘John Murphy’ or ‘J Murphy’,
  • Any partnership that does not trade under the true names of all the partners, whether composed of individuals or bodies corporate, or any combination of both,
  • Any corporate body that trades under a name which is not its full corporate name, for example ‘Murphy Construction Limited’ trading as ‘Murphy Builders’, and
  • Any person carrying on the business of publishing a newspaper, to register their business name with the Registrar of Companies in the Companies Registration Office (‘the Registrar’).

The act requires the Registrar to issue a certificate of registration (‘a business name registration certificate’) to applicants, and to maintain an index of all business names (‘the Business Names Register’).

Search facility

Any person may search for a business name on the Register of Business Names free of charge, using the Registrar’s search facility. 

Respondents are requested to make their submissions to caroline.kiernan@dbei.gov.ie.

The deadline for submissions is 5pm on Tuesday, 10 September.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland