Knowledge Centre

Solicitors to blame for probate delays - HMCTS

Written By - Liam Bolton - August 28,2019

Faulty applications from solicitors are the cause of delays of more than six weeks for grants of probate, HM Courts & Tribunals has implied in its response to an escalating row. 

The chair of the Law Society’s wills and equity committee told the Gazette last week that the Ministry of Justice is downplaying probate delays and that figures being cited do not reflect actual waiting times.

However, a blog on HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s website says the discrepancy is caused by inaccurate or incomplete probate applications.

Jonathan Wood, national services director, wrote: ‘A considerable number of applications for probate have to be stopped because we need further information or assurance before we can issue a grant of probate.’

‘We don’t count the time from stopping until we get the responses back and start working again on the application…But it is clear that when applications are stopped it adds to the time it takes us to process and the impact is felt more acutely when people are already waiting far too long.’

He added that the new online system would make the application process ‘clearer and simpler’ and cut down on the number of applications needing correction.

According to the blog, HMCTS had increased its workforce by 20% to deal with a backlog of 40,000 applications.

Wood wrote: ‘With extra support now in place, I fully expect the delays to reduce further over the coming weeks.’