In re Jack White — Lord de Carmel

Reference: In re Jack White — Lord de Carmel (1979), CA

Royal Courts of Justice
31st July 1979

In The Supreme Court of Judicature
Court of Appeal

Before (the judges sitting on the bench)

Counsel (the barristers representing the parties)

  • Mr J. Leckie appeared on behalf of Jack White (the Applicant)


Lord Denning M.R. —

This is an unusual application which comes to me as the Master of the Rolls, because there is entrusted under my supervision all applications for the enrolment of Deed Poll for change of names.

Mr Jack White was born in London over 70 years ago, and he has lived and used that name all his life.  But now, in his later years, he seeks to change it to Jack White — Lord de Carmel.  He has made a Deed dated the 13th December, 1979 in which he declares that in future he is going to use the surname and title Jack White Lord de Carmel as his name and title, instead of the surname of White.

This is what the Deed says:

“BY THIS DEED which is intended to be enrolled in the enrolment department of the Supreme Court of Judicature, I the under-mentioned JACK WHITE LORD DE CARMEL of 30 Dudsbury Avenue, Ferndown, Wimborne in the County of Dorset, Company Director, now or lately called Jack White, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by birth, do hereby assume as from the date hereof the title of Lord de Carmel in addition to the surname of White AND in pursuance of the adoption of such title as aforesaid I hereby declare that I shall at all times hereafter in all records deeds and instruments in writing and in all actions and proceedings and in all dealings and transactions and upon all occasions whatsoever use and sign the said surname and title Jack White Lord de Carmel as my name and title in lieu of the said surname of White as aforesaid

“AND I hereby authorise and request all persons to designate and address me by such name and title of Jack White Lord de Carmel only

“IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunder signed my Christian name of Jack and my surname and title White Lord de Carmel and my former surname of White and have set my seal this 13th day of December, One thousand nine hundred and seventy nine, SIGNED SEALED AND DELIVERED by the above-named” etc.

In pursuance of this Deed, he has applied for and obtained a passport in the name of Jack White Lord de Carmel, and other formal documents.  Now he applies to have the Deed enrolled.

There has been no occasion hitherto to state the principles which apply to the enrolment of a change of name: but it seems to me that the ordinary understanding of people is that in order to validate or perfect a change of name, it is important to have the Deed enrolled.  I accept this view and, accordingly, I think it is important to state that no Deed should be enrolled if the new name is likely to mislead or cause confusion to members of the public generally, or to others in particular.

It seems to me that the adoption by Mr White of the name Lord de Carmel is likely to mislead or cause confusion.  Some people might be led to think that he was a Peer of the Realm, or had some territorial connection with Carmel ↗ in Israel; and either of these assertions would be misleading.

This was the view of the Queen’s Remembrancer ↗, and I take the same view.  I therefore affirm the decision of the Queen’s Remembrancer and hold that the application for enrolment should be refused.

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Orders of the court

No order as to costs.