The government has published a consultation paper, 'Non-Contentious Probate Mandating online professional applications'. It proposes changing the non-contentious probate rules to make it mandatory for professional users, such as solicitors and other probate practitioners, to use the online process.
A beta version of the online probate service became available for all legal professionals in October 2019. Previously probate applications could only be filed on paper.
Reform of the 162-year-old Probate Service, part of HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS), is part of a process started in 2016 to modernise Britain’s court and tribunal system. About £1bn has been set aside to bring new technology and modern ways of working to how justice is administered.
The consultation document is seeking opinions, primarily from professional groups involved with the probate service, with a series of questions. The consultation period ends on 10 September 2020 with the results due to be published in October.
- Do you agree that HMCTS should implement mandating of professional user applications? Please give reasons for your answer.
- Do you agree with the advantages identified for professional users from the online probate system?
- Are there disadvantages with the online probate system? Please give details.
- Do you have any comments on the advantages of HMCTS of the online service? Do you consider there are disadvantages (please give details)?
- Do you disagree with any of the exceptions HMCTS proposes to make?
- Are there any other exceptions which you believe should be made to the mandating of professional user applications?
- Do you consider that any of the proposals will have a disproportionate impact on individuals with protected characteristics? Are there any potential modifications that we should consider to mitigate this impact? Please give reasons for your answer.
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HMCTS Consultation document 'Non-Contentious Probate Mandating online professional applications'