1. This guidance is issued to assist the courts and practitioners in relation to the use of statements of truth as a replacement for affidavits in non-contentious probate processes in current circumstances where at present many solicitors cannot access their offices or papers.
2. To enable non-contentious probate business to continue during the current social conditions imposed for the coronavirus pandemic, I am authorising the District Probate Registrars to allow statements of truth to be used as an alternative to affidavits for the following applications and processes in the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 – 12 (1), 16, 19, 25 (2), 26, 32 (2), 44 (12), 46 (2) & (4), 47 (4) & (6), 48 (2)a, 50 (2), 51, 52, 53, 54 (3), 55 (2) until 30 July 2020.
3. Consideration will be given to making this rule change permanent by Statutory Instrument at a future date.
4. The changes sought will allow the Registrars to dispose of these matters in a more expeditious way for the parties and for HMCTS during the current restrictions which have resulted in Solicitors’ offices being widely closed and all Probate Registries closed to members of the public; therefore, persons who need to depose to evidence in form of an affidavit do not have access to a commissioner for oaths. It will enable citizens and practitioners to continue to operate whilst measures are in place in respect of social distancing.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew McFarlane
President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice