Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (627)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

627. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice 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; if the e-probate system is fully live in each office; the effect that the e-probate system has had on average waiting times to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8849/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service have advised me of the following.

Regarding the Dublin Probate Office, restrictions under level 5 of the Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021 Plan for Living with COVID-19 necessitated the temporary closure of the personal applications process in October 2020. Solicitor applications continue to be processed. The waiting times for these applications, which were at one point subject to twelve weeks delays, are now at seven weeks. Until such time as the restrictions on movement are lifted or significantly reduced, the Courts Service advises there will be no resumption of personal application interviews.

The waiting times for the District Probate Registries around the country are set out in the table below.

Registry

No. of Applications on hand

Average Waiting time in weeks- solicitors

Average Waiting Time in Weeks- Personal Apps

Cork

236

10 - 12

12

Clonmel

82

4 - 6

2-4

Tralee

91

5 - 6

4-5

Limerick

62

3

3-4

Castlebar

56

8

12

Galway

70

12

16

Letterkenny

16

8

20

Sligo

16

10

25

Dundalk

28

4

5-6

Cavan

40 (30 with queries raised)

4-6

No personal appointments at the moment due to Level 5 ( 4 weeks normally)

Mullingar

31

6

12+

Kilkenny

92 (all under query with Solicitors or personal applicants)

2 - 3

2- 3

Waterford

22

6

4

Wexford

60

12

12

The e-probate project remains on the Courts Service’s list of modernisation projects. I am advised that the timetable for its implementation has yet to be determined and that it will continue to be considered in the context of other priority projects in the areas of civil, criminal and family law.