587. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Justice the average processing time for probate in the past five years by year, in tabular form. [37887/21]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): As the Deputy will be aware, the Probate Office is an office of the High Court. Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in its functions. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made.
The Courts Service has informed me that probate matters are dealt with in its Dublin Office and in 14 District Registries nationwide. Unfortunately, the Courts Service does not maintain statistics in the manner requested by the Deputy.
District Registries normally are small offices and I understand from the Courts Service that staff turnover can lead to temporary spikes in waiting times while vacancies are filled. However, the staff of the Probate Office are committed to clearing any backlogs while the Courts Service is committed to continuing to resource this work to minimise waiting times as far as possible.
In this regard, the Courts Service has confirmed that interviews for personal applications resumed in May and additional staff resources have been allocated in some locations to facilitate these interviews.
The Dublin Probate Office accounts for over fifty per cent of all probate applications lodged in this jurisdiction, and the waiting time for solicitor applications is at its lowest point for many years. For applications that are correct, the waiting period is six weeks. In Cork, the Deputy may be interested to know that waiting times are 10-12 weeks for solicitors, and 14 weeks for personal applications. This compares favourably with pre-pandemic waiting times, which were 10 weeks and 12 weeks respectively in November 2019.