§ MR. LENG (Dundee)
I beg to ask the Attorney General whether Limited Liability Companies in the United Kingdom could obtain, until recently, from Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode, the Queen's Printers, certified copies of the Companies' Acts for production in foreign Courts of Law, without any charge for the certificate; whether the granting of such certificates has been subjected to a charge, by an official in the Parliament Office, of a guinea for certifying each Act, and 10s. 6d. for every 100 folios, bringing up the total for a set of the Companies' Acts to about £25; whether there is any reason for imposing this new charge on public companies; whether such fees are excessive; and whether he will give instructions for a more moderate scale of fees to be adopted?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER,) Isle of Wight
The answer to the first paragraph of the question is in the affirmative. With reference to the second paragraph, the change in the practice was instituted because it was considered that, inasmuch as the Lord Chancellor has to affix the Great Seal to the Act in question, this step should only be taken upon the certificate of the Clerk of Parliaments, who is the official custodian. The fees are paid to the Treasury, and no part is paid to, or are the fees any perquisite of, the gentleman named in the question. So far as my opinion is of value, I do not see that the fees are in any way excessive. There is no obligation to obtain certified copies. Any foreign Court may, if it thinks fit, be satisfied with a copy printed by the Queen's Printers, in the same way as our Courts accept an Act so printed.