Do fees matter? Consultation requiring your response

 In Comment, Gill's Blog

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For once I am not talking about your fees but court fees. Do you think that Court Fees should cover the cost of providing the service? Or is that what we pay our taxes for?

At the moment the fees for obtaining a Grant of Probate are at a low level – a fixed fee regardless of the size of the estate of £45. It is not so long ago that the fees fluctuated depending on the size of the estate and often ran into hundreds of pounds. I do not know whether those receipts were re-invested in the provision of the Probate Registry service but those days seem quite golden compared to the level of service we receive now. Would an increase in fees improve the level of service? If so, then a modest increase would be welcome.

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on increasing Court Fees including the cost of applying for probate – see https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/court-fees-proposals-for-reform/consult_view.  The main changes are:

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(a) to increase the fee for applying for a Grant from £45 to £150 (while keeping the additional personal application fee at £60) and

(b) to change the Court of Protection Fees by introducing a simple application fee of £220 (lower than the normal fee of £400) for non-contentious applications (e.g. Property & Financial Affairs Deputyship Applications) and to charge £400 to object to the registration of a Lasting or Enduring Power of Attorney.

The consultation ends on Tuesday, 21 January 2014. I am grateful to Philip Evans of Graham & Rosen for pointing these key changes out to me. So if you want to make a response you need to act quickly.

Gill Steel

13 January 2014

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