I recently wrote about the long delays from the Probate Registry and was therefore surprised to see that parliament had produced statistics suggesting the wait times were significantly less than we are experiencing in practice.
The chair of the Law Society's wills and equity committee has spoken out to explain that the statistics produced do not include waiting for the Registrar, printing time nor sending time. It also appears to only deal with online applications, and not paper application despite paper applications being significantly higher in number. The article suggests 90% of applications are paper applications. It therefore appears that the statistics do not accurately reflect the current situation.
The ongoing delays are having a significant effect on many estates. However, the estimated backlog is 40,000 and therefore it appears that it will be some time before waiting times are significantly reduced.
The Ministry of Justice is under-reporting the problem of probate delays and over-estimating how satisfied people are with the application process, the Gazette has been told. Ian Bond, chair of the Law Society’s wills and equity committee, said that figures posted on Parliament’s website about the average wait for grants of probate were ‘disingenuous to say the least’. He said: ‘The figures given are for the period from banking the payment to the legal manager approving the application. It doesn’t include the wait for the registrar to come to that registry to sign (or the application to be sent to another registry where the registrar will be). Nor does it include the time taken to print and send.’