Parliamentary briefing: Law Society opposes Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018

This briefing outlines our views on the Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018, a draft affirmative statutory instrument laid before Parliament on 5 November 2018 under section 180(7) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The proposal hikes probate fees from a current flat fee of £215 (or £155 if done by a solicitor) to a sliding scale of fees ranging from £250 to £6,000 depending on the value of the estate.

Our position

We're strongly opposed to the proposals to hike the fees for grant of probate from the current flat figure of £215 (or £155 if done by a solicitor) to a sliding scale of fees rising to as much as £6,000 depending on the value of the estate.

We've raised serious concerns that the proposals amount to a ‘stealth tax’ and a misuse of the lord chancellor’s fee-levying powers, and that the proposals are likely ultra vires.

We're therefore urging members of parliament to object to the Order and vote against approving it.

Key recommendations

We object to the Order on the following grounds:

  • the Order would impose an unjustifiable “stealth tax” on the bereaved
  • that the Order is a misuse of the fee-levying power under section 180 of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
  • that the Order is likely ultra vires, as has been noted by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments

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