The Ministry of Justice (sic) is Dishonest

Mr Hammond found another way of grabbing money from us in his budget. He decided to impose hefty fees for applying for the grant of probate. His hope was that practically no one would notice. Sadly for him, many MPs did notice.

His aim is to raise £300M a year from the beneficiaries of the estates of deceased people, over and above the inheritance tax which they will, of course, also pay. Fees, ranging between £300 and £20,000, depending on the size of the estate, will be levied for applying for probate of wills.

In almost all cases, probate is little more than a form-filling exercise (the size of the estate bears no relation to the work involved). The cost to the Ministry of Justice is minimal. The new fees, plainly, are not designed to cover court costs: they are what we now know as a “stealth tax”. They will fill the Treasury’s coffers and be used for general public expenditure.

The Orwellian “Ministry of Justice” was asked about these preposterous new charges. This is what its spokesman said: “Fees are necessary to maintain an accessible, world-leading justice system which puts the needs of victims and vulnerable people first.”

That was straightforward dishonesty. The fees are not going to be used to maintain the justice system. The Ministry was lying when it made that claim. The fees are a new tax, and it is deplorable that a government department should pretend they are not. It is worse that that government department claims to be a supporter of justice.

This government has got a lot to learn.



3 thoughts on “The Ministry of Justice (sic) is Dishonest

  1. Absolutely agree Charles. Candidly, I believe Inheritance Tax is theft by the state. If valuables are mine whilst I’m alive, why should the government rob my beneficiaries when I die? It doesn’t make any kind of logical sense.
    It all stems from syphoning off the riches of aristocrats, enriched by medieval or pre-medieval combat, when it seemed to the Labour movement, that such unearned monies should assist the poor. However, when the legislation was introduced, the threshold was pitched way below that of the super rich and ordinary hard-working families found their just deserts being pillaged.
    I’m increasingly alarmed at the actions of this ‘government’. I was perplexed when May appointed Hammond – he was a useless Foreign Secretary and has now proved to be an even worse Chancellor.
    If the Tories don’t buck up, I can see the party splitting up into Conservatives and right-wing socialists (à la Cameron/Blair et al).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I want to remarry my ex wife because it is either that or leaving my estate to a charity that will stop any government from taking a huge slice of my assets and giving it to Pakistan or subsidising wind farms.

      She knows nothing of this, and might well freak out, but I have no wish to live with her and we could continue our lives separately in Bristol and Whitechapel. We already exchange Christmas cards so it would be business as usual. (and no, she has not remarried)

      I am currently waiting for her to come to London to discuss this – my health means I’m not up to travelling.

      Should she decline then the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces charity and Battersea Dogs and Cats will be beneficiaries. She’d better get cracking, though, I have further surgery to undergo some time this year and the last thing I want (literally !!) is for some muslim or wind farmer get any of my goodies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Charles, the last (only) time I did a probate was about 15 years ago and the fees then had a sliding scale that went up to several tens of thousands of pounds.

    Last year I had occasion to look at the fees again and was pleased to note that the basic fee for estates over £10k was a flat £200 (and zero for those estates below).

    So it seems that the treasury miss this method of milking the public for no better reason than they can. No extra work is involved in processing probate applications for larger estates.

    Equally scandalous is the lying claim that these extra fees somehow make the system ‘accessible’ or that they put the “needs of victims and vulnerable people” first.


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