Tuesday, 28 July 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
810. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the wait time for personal applications to the Probate Office; if there are differing wait times for applications from legal firms; when the Probate Office last accepted a personal application; the status of the promised review of the probate system which was to be completed by the end of 2017; when the recommendations of the review will be implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18888/20]
813. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the average and longest waiting time in each probate office for applications by solicitors and personal applicants, respectively; the number of applications on hand in each office; the timeline for the eProbate project to go live in each office; the status of the project; if the Revenue Commissioners' have been incorporated and gone live on eProbate; the status of the implementation of each recommendation in the report of the probate services review group; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19069/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 810 and 813 together.
The Probate Office is an office of the High Court and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998. Probate functions are also carried out by County Registrars at District Probate Registries in 14 provincial court offices.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided the following information to me.
Personal Applications in Dublin have been on hold since the restrictions imposed on foot of the Covid 19 pandemic began. The Dublin Probate Office is currently looking at the health and safety implications and logistical issues associated with resuming the face-to-face interview service with members of the public. In the meantime, the Dublin Probate Office is continuing to accept and process applications received by post, as it has done over the past five months.
Prior to Covid 19, the waiting time had reduced to twelve weeks for personal applications. The waiting time for solicitor applications is currently around three weeks.
Waiting times in the various District Court registries are outlined below:
|District Probate Offices||Applications from solicitors - Average time from first receipt to issue a grant of Probate/letters of administration||Applications from Personal Applicants - Average time from first receipt to issue a grant of Probate/letters of administration|
|Wexford||1 week||2-3 weeks|
|Kilkenny||2-3 weeks||up to date|
|Galway||12 weeks||18 weeks|
|Cork||12-14 weeks||36 weeks|
|Sligo||16 weeks||20 weeks|
|Waterford||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|Castlebar||6-8 weeks||6-8 weeks|
|Clonmel||3 weeks||3 weeks|
|Cavan||4 weeks||8 weeks|
|Dundalk||4 weeks||6 weeks|
|Mullingar||5 weeks||3 weeks|
|Limerick||9-10 weeks||10-12 weeks|
|Tralee||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|Letterkenny||4-6 weeks||4-6 weeks|
The Courts Service has made a decision not to proceed with the e-Probate project at this time due to budgetary constraints. There is a project ongoing to remove the manual Revenue Affidavit from the probate process and to replace the manual process with an online system. The go live date for this changeover is September of this year. This should reduce further the waiting times for all applications.
The Review of the Probate process is now complete. All actions which assisted in the lowering of the waiting times have been taken. The reduction in waiting times for solicitor applications reflects the outcome of the Review and the outcomes from other initiatives that have taken place over the past two years.