Controversial plans to hike probate fees have lapsed due to parliament’s prorogation.
The plans were initially delayed when the Brexit deadline of March 29thwas extended to October 31st. However, with parliament prorogued by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the motion has now lapsed completely – news welcomed by The Law Society.
The proposed hikes (which were set to be introduced on April 1st2019) were going to increase probate application fees from a flat rate of £215 (£155 through a solicitor) to a new banded system. The system would have seen probate applications charged between £250 and £6000 – depending on the value of the estate.
A vote on the motion had been scheduled since February of this year. But the delay to Brexit has had a knock-on-effect on many other issues – the introduction of the probate hike being just one of them. The suspension of parliament has led to the motion being thrown out; when parliament resumes, the government will decide whether or not to reintroduce the order.
If the motion is reintroduced for parliament to vote, much opposition is expected. President of the Law Society, Simon Davis declared that the order ‘is a tax on grief’, and that ‘it is inherently unfair to expect the bereaved to fund other parts of the courts and tribunal service’.
Although it is not known whether or not the probate hike motion will be reintroduced in the future, its current lapsed status is welcome for many amongst the confusion and political turmoil in the UK.