Probate

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the performance of the Probate Service in processing applications for probate in 2019; how he measures that performance; and how long it took on average to process a probate application in each of the last 24 months.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel Conservative, Witham

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he is taking steps to reduce the time taken to process applications for probate; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Paul Maynard Paul Maynard The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Official statistics are not published on the average length of time from receipt of the application to the issue of a grant of probate. Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) internal management information, which is not subject to the rigorous quality assurance processes of official statistics, has been used to show the following average times from receipt of an application to a grant being issued:

Month and year

Average Weeks to grant issued

July 2017

3

August 2017

3

September 2017

3

October 2017

3

November 2017

3

December 2017

3

January 2018

3

February 2018

3

March 2018

3

April 2018

3

May 2018

3

June 2018

3

July 2018

3

August 2018

3

September 2018

3

October 2018

3

November 2018

3

December 2018

3

January 2019

2

February 2019

2

March 2019

3

April 2019

2

May 2019

6

June 2019

9

These figures do not include cases which are waiting for a grant to be issued. The data from April 2019 to June 2019 have been extracted from the HMCTS Reform Core Case Data system, which is a new system in active development, and may not be directly comparable with figures for earlier periods. All figures, especially those for April 2019 to June 2019, are provisional and subject to revision.

Some grants are experiencing delays of between four and six weeks outside of our targets as a result of significant increases in work during March and April and some technology issues which have now been resolved. We have recruited more staff and are now issuing in excess of 1,000 grants a day, which is bringing waiting times down further.

Urgent action has been taken to address the delays which have been experienced in the probate service. Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service is increasing staffing levels and further improving the digital service to help reduce waiting times.

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