Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (182)

Barry Cowen


182. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of his Department's review of the probate system; the timeframe for the review; the recommendations in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4713/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

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 informed me that the Probate Services Review Group was established by the Chief Executive Officer of the Courts Service in June 2016. The Courts Service has advised that, at an early stage in its deliberations, the Review Group engaged in a comprehensive survey of internal and external stakeholders, extending to practitioners and personal applicants with recent experience of applying for grants and additional consultations with certain external stakeholders. This necessitated the extension of the deadline for provision of the final report.

The report with recommendations for the modernisation of the process is now being finalised and will be presented to the Senior Management Team of the Courts Service and to the Courts Service Board early this year.  A key focus of the report will be the potential for transfer of applications for grants of administration on-line.  The Courts Service and Revenue Commissioners have, during the course of the Review Group's deliberations, been exploring options for a collaborative approach to delivering of an eProbate solution.