As we explained in an article earlier this month, the Non-Contentious Probate Fees Order lapsed following the prorogation of Parliament back in August. However, since the prorogation was ruled as illegal, the Order was revived and back on the Government’s radar. Now, in somewhat of a U-turn, the Ministry of Justice has announced its plans to axe the proposed new probate fees structure altogether.
The draft Non-Contentious Probate (Fee) Order, which was approved by the House of Lords last year, would have replaced the current flat-rate fee of £215 with a sliding scale of fees rising from £250 to £6,000 on all estates worth £50,000 or more.
Previously, the Government claimed the new structure was necessary to fund the courts system and was a “fair and more progressive” way of paying. But, following a widespread backlash from a number of organisations including The Law Society, STEP and Remember A Charity, the Government has reversed its position.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman commented: “Fees are necessary to properly fund our world-leading courts system, but we have listened carefully to concerns around changes to those charged for probate and will look at them again as part of a wider review to make sure all fees are fair and proportionate.”
In the short-term, the existing flat £215 fee – or £155 with a solicitor – will be retained, and the structure will later be reviewed as part of the annual assessment of the fees charged for court proceedings.