Probate: Standards

Ministry of Justice written question – answered at on 17 May 2024.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what service level agreements his Department has in place for the operation of the probate office within HM Courts and Tribunal Service.

Photo of Mike Freer Mike Freer Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

HMCTS has several internal service standards which have been set as a result of the action plan to recover performance in the probate service.

This includes the overall interim target of reducing average waiting times to 8 weeks for a grant of probate from the receipt of the documentation needed to process the application.

Management information published by HMCTS (which does not go through the same level of quality assurance and analysis as the Family Court Statistics Quarterly) shows the average mean length of time taken for a grant of probate, from receipt of documentation, reduced by 3 weeks in March 2024 to 9 weeks.

The digitisation of the probate service has enabled HMCTS to significantly increase the range of performance data which is available publicly by both MoJ and HMCTS and can now include more granular data on types of application received and grants issued. In addition, average grant processing time (timeliness) is published and can be interrogated using a range of filters.

A full time series of Official Statistics back to Q3 2019 is published in the Family Court Statistics Quarterly https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/family-court-statistics-quarterly and currently covers the period up to December 2023.

More recent management information published by HMCTS (which does not go through the same level of quality assurance and analysis as the Family Court Statistics Quarterly) provides waiting time information up to March 2023 https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmcts-management-information.

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