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Law Society hits out at "unfair" increases in probate fees

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Law Society hits out at “unfair” increases in probate fees

The Law Society has issued a stern rebuke to the Government over increases in probate fees, arguing that ministers should not see the service as an opportunity to make profit.

The legal body this week published its full response to a consultation that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has launched following the news that it intends to increase fees to up to £20,000 for the highest-value estates.

The Law Society had already indicated that it had serious misgivings about “excessive” rises – believing that they would be tantamount to a tax – and it has now taken the opportunity to flesh out its opposition to the new regime.

“It is unfair and discriminatory to expect the bereaved to fund/subsidise other parts of the court and tribunals service,” said a spokesman.

“Court fees are a necessary source of funding but should not be charged over and above the cost of the specific service.”

The Government has defended the increases, arguing that extra revenue was urgently needed to fund the HM Courts & Tribunal Service.

This claim came in for criticism from the Law Society, who have pointed out that the organisation has already benefited from a number of previous increases in fees, as well as the sale of court buildings nationwide.

“Fees obtained by the probate service should be designed to cover the cost of running and improving the probate service and should not be siphoned off to fund other areas of the court system,” the response concluded.