Clause 739

Company Law Reform Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 4th July 2006.

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Right to copy of material on the register

Question proposed, That the clause stand part ofthe Bill.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice)

Are the fees for copies likely to be affected by these new provisions? In particular, will costs be reduced by the increased use of electronic filing and/or will electronic filing start-up costs be recouped from the fees paid for searches?

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs

The clause makes it clear that anyone is entitled to a copy of material on the register, so it is similar in purpose to the preceding clause, which we have just agreed to and which provides that any person can inspect the register.

A general principle of how Companies House is established is that it operates on a cost-recovery basis. It would therefore in any event expect to charge users of its services fees consistent with the costs of providing the relevant service.

In this instance, an explicit provision of European law governs the costs of providing copies, so the clause sets it out, for the avoidance of doubt, that the fee for a copy may not exceed the administrative cost of providing the service. If Companies House is to be able to recoup the administrative costs of providing the service, it is likely to have to recoup the costs of setting up the system, but in the longer term one might expect electronic communications to reduce transaction costs in any event.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 739 ordered to stand part of the Bill.