460. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the reason for the ongoing delays in granting probate or processing applications of probate at the Probate Office; if steps can be taken to expedite the process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [55648/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy will be aware, the Probate Office is an office of the High Court and 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. Probate functions are also carried out by County Registrars at District Probate Registries in 14 provincial court offices, who are also independent in carrying out their functions. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided the following update.
Applications by solicitors continued to be processed throughout the period of the pandemic restrictions in both the Dublin Probate Office and the District Probate Registries. I am advised that the waiting time for solicitor and personal applications at present in the Dublin Probate Office is eight to ten weeks, assuming that the papers received are correct. Any arrears that had built up have now been cleared. Applications where queries had to be raised on foot of the papers first lodged are taking eight weeks from the date they are re-submitted.
The Courts Service has embarked on multi-year programme of modernisation to enhance the delivery of services to the people of Ireland. As part of its aims for the programme, the Courts Service is committed to simplifying services and processes. A key project in the civil law workstream for the Service is the development of an e-probate project, which will have the benefit of standardising the processing of probate applications and so enhance the delivery of the service to Courts Users.