The latest figures from HM Courts & Tribunals Service have revealed that paper probate applications are sometimes taking more than twice as long as their digital counterparts.
In May, the probate service performance figures show that digital applications took 13.5 weeks when stopped and 4.1 weeks without stops.
In the same period, paper applications took 22.8 weeks when stopped and 8.9 weeks without stops.
According to the Law Society, HMCTS “appreciates more action is needed for paper applications”, adding that “while these are more complex, HMCTS accepts there is no reason for the long waits, which are now creating demand in terms of phone calls”.
HMCTS also confirmed to the Society:
- Most paper applications are dealt with at probate registries
- More staff are being trained and deployed to bring down both the stopped and the new applications, including upskilling Courts and Tribunals Service Centre (CTSC) staff around the more in-depth intestacy and “Admon with Will” type queries
On the issue of stopped applications, the Law Society says HMCTS has seen “month-on-month reductions” in the number of applications it’s had to stop first time round. The Society said:
“Stops continue to impact timeliness and HMCTS is concentrating on ways to drive these down, as well as looking at how it can make internal processes more efficient.”
For more information on improvements to the service and practitioner advice, read the Society’s full update here.