Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
170. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to the issues caused by Covid-19 within the Probate Office in relation to interviews and delays on cases due to interviews not being conducted; the steps being taken to rectify the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12765/21]
The Probate Office is an office of the High Court and under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in its functions. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided the following update on the Dublin Probate Office, which accounts for over fifty per cent of all probate applications lodged in this jurisdiction.
The Courts Service advises that the reintroduction of restrictions on travel earlier this year necessitated the temporary closure of the personal applications process in the Dublin Probate Office. Interviews for personal applications, however, resumed early last month with additional resources being allocated to facilitating these interviews. The staff of the Probate Office are committed to clearing the backlogs that had developed while personal applicant interviews were not possible and are working hard to achieve this.
The Deputy will appreciate that all such personal application interviews are required to be conducted in line with current Public Health Guidelines, which must be factored into the scheduling of interview appointments.
The waiting time for solicitor applications in the Dublin Office is at its lowest point for many years. For applications that are correct, the waiting period is six weeks. Resubmitted applications, where queries were raised when the papers were first lodged, are taking six weeks from the date they are resubmitted.