Software Issues Cause Significant Delays To MoJ Applications

The Ministry of justice (MoJ), HM Court and Tribunals System (HMCTS) and the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) are facing significant backlogs on various applications because of issues with software after adapting a new system.

Following the Court of Protection User Group meeting for April, delegates revealed that The Court of Protection (CoD) have struggled with their new case management system that is causing time out issues. Overall, this is leading to delays in accessing data as staff wait for the system to resume.

It is thought that staff down time, because of this technological glitch, has reduced the amount of applications they were able to process. In total, 485 orders were sent out and 1,400 applications were considered out of the 31,878 applications that were received in March.

Similarly, new systems being implemented by the probate registries has caused extended delays to grant of probate and letters of administration being obtained.

The MoJ received an influx of additional applications for a grant of probate in March as executors looked to rush through applications prior to the anticipated changes to Probate fees. In addition to this influx of excess applications, the government have struggled with the case management system delaying the process further.

Under the average traffic of applications, government officials are usually able to process documents within 10 days. However, the perfect storm of software glitches and overwhelming amounts of applications have seen a backlog and waiting list of over four weeks developing.

In order to rectify the situation, CoD have increased more staff to help deal with the backlog and ensure that all high risk applications are processed quickly. 10 agency staff have been employed for three months and the Judges have been allocated an additional 50 days sitting time to help stem the flow of backlogged cases.

Stuart Adams, managing associate in the private department at London firm Mishcon de Reya, said:

“Further concerns have been expressed regarding the move towards digital probate applications where, amongst other things, work historically done by experienced civil servants in the probate service to verify the authenticity of wills is to be done using bulk scanning and printing services.”

Christina Blacklaws, Law Society president, said:

“It is extremely disappointing to hear of these delays. It seems inherently unfair that the impact of this falls on the bereaved when they have no other option but to apply for probate.”

The MoJ statement claimed:

“grants affected were issued within a week and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Have you noticed a backlog and increased waiting timed for these crucial documents?

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