Prorogation halts probate fee changes, for now


The proposed changes to the probate fees have been on hold since February this year. With the delay has come uncertainty for both bereaved families and their advisers.

Some may have hoped that the end of the last Parliamentary session will have put an end to the planned fee increases, but it would seem not.

Whilst the prorogation of parliament has put paid to most primary legislation, secondary legislation (including the proposed probate fee changes) can still be enacted after Parliament reconvenes.

So where does this leave us? Well, it has been clear for some time that Parliament has other more pressing matters to deal with. For the last few months there has been no indication that this matter was high on the government's domestic agenda. Plus, in the interim we have had a change of Prime Minister and a wholesale change of the Cabinet.

When Parliament does reconvene we know that it will have its focus on Brexit (sorry, I did try and avoid mentioning it!). When it does get onto its domestic agenda will this matter be a priority? Possibly not. Should we have a change of government then who is to say what a new government will decide to do. 

My sense though is that the prorogation of Parliament may mean that the fee changes are kicked into the long grass indefinitely, but only time will tell.

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Last week's five-week prorogation of Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had the side-effect of halting the progress of several items of pending legislation, including the drastic rise in probate fees set out in the Draft Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018.
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