Nearly all probate sub-registries could shut down by the end of March 2020 as part of a government modernisation project, the Law Society Gazette understands.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) intends to close almost all of its 18 probate sub-registries by the end of the first quarter, the Gazette has been told. However, the timetable – which was proposed before the December 2019 election – could change, depending on the outcome of a consultation.

The planned closures are part of the government’s £1bn ‘Transforming our Justice System’ programme which aims to introduce technology and modern ways of working, reducing the need for multiple probate registries and sub-registries. In August, Birmingham District Probate Registry was the first office to close.

The Law Society plans to meet HMCTS at the end of January to discuss further details.