Using the word ‘Limited’

Choosing a company name is one of the most important decisions when setting up a business. Needless to say there are a number of important considerations and a various legal requirements that must be satisfied.

In general a company must use either of “Limited” of “Public Limited Company” after their name (note that the Welsh equivalent is also accepted).

However there are certain exemptions from using this wording, such exemptions may be applied for under section 30 of the Companies Act 1985 and require the company to:

  • be a private company limited by guarantee
  • the objects of the company must be to promote commerce, education, science, charity, religion, art etc and
  • the memorandum and articles of association must provide that any profits are to be spent in promoting the company’s objectives, no dividends are to be paid and in the event that the company is wound up all assets should be transferred to a body with similar objectives.

In the case of an existing company a special resolution must be passed to change the name omitting the word ‘limited’. The special resolution must be sent to the Companies Registry with FORM 30(5)(c) and the fee (at time of writing this is £10). Where however a new company wishes to apply for the exemption they must complete and file Form 30(5)(a) instead.

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