New grant of representation application forms for legal professionals
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has launched new standard grant of representation application forms for legal professionals. These will see the old-style Statements of Truth become redundant after a four-week introduction period for the new forms.
We had early involvement with the redesign of the forms with HMCTS though we were not previously aware of the decision to remove Statements of Truth.
“The Law Society welcomes the further modernisation of the Probate Service with the move to a uniform procedure for both professionals and lay applicants to follow when they are not using the online portal to submit applications”, said Ian Bond, chair of our Wills and Equity Committee.
“However, the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the new application forms may not be suitable for some of the more complex applications that usually require professional advice to make sure that it is completed correctly. We look forward to continuing to work with HMCTS in refining the forms over the coming months.”
The new forms
Three of the current grant of representation forms completed by citizens have been redesigned for the legal sector:
- PA1A – applying for grant of letters of administration
- PA1P – applying for a grant of probate
- PA8A – applying for a caveat
These forms will need to be completed in place of the Statement of Truth. Once completed they'll be lodged at the Probate Registries which will be sent to the Courts and Tribunals Service Centres.
Reasons for introducing the forms
HMCTS receive around 170,000 grants of representation applications per year. They have stated that as there is no standard format for these forms and with the future introduction of bulk scanning into the service, these forms will enable them to digitise the information and insert it directly into their systems. They also state this will reduce errors and speed up the process.
How the transition to new forms will work
The forms were introduced on 23 March 2020 for a period of four weeks.
During this period Probate Registries will be permitted to accept the old-style Statements of Truth, if received instead of the new forms.
After the four-week period (after 20 April 2020), if any Statements of Truth are received, they'll be returned requesting the appropriate new form.
With the introduction of the new forms and uniform processes, we now look forward to an announcement from HMCTS on new fees as it no longer seems justifiable to charge different fees to professionals and lay-applicants.
You can provide feedback on these forms by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Probate review meeting
On 23 March we had our regular meeting with HMCTS to discuss the probate service. HMCTS officials are encouraging legal professionals to sign up to the online probate service as it will ensure a better continuity of service over the next few months.
HMCTS also asked users of the probate service to expect an impact on the service while social distancing measures are in place.