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?
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.