The UK government’s plan to increase probate fees has been criticised by the opposition in the House of Lords.
Labour’s Justice Spokesperson, Lord Beecham, has tabled the following motion of regret in relation to The Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018:
‘Lord Beecham to move that this House regrets that the draft Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018 will introduce a revised non-contentious probate fee structure considered by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to be “so far above the actual cost of the service [it] arguably amounts to a stealth tax and, therefore, a misuse of the fee-levying power” under section 180 of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; and that this Order represents a significant move away from the principle that fees for a public service should recover the cost of providing it and no more.’ 6th Report from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee A).
As statutory instruments cannot be amended, this type of measure can put parliamentarians’ disapproval on record, if passed. Motions to regret are usually voted on at the same time as the legislation.
The probate fees order is currently awaiting scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. As noted by Lord Beecham’s motion, the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has already voiced its concern [PDF] about the proposals.
STEP will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further updates where appropriate.