The Registrar opines that in light of the decision in CV 427/2012 entitled Edmund King & Cecil Smith v Marva Clarke the system of processing probate applications is to be changed and that counsel dealing with such applications must now pay for the advertising of the probate application and provide proof of such application, before the Registry will accept the filing of the application.
How, we ask, is this possible? Further, under what law and/or authority can the Registrar make such a demand? BU invites the Registrar to enlighten us to the legal precedents governing her decision. An application only exists after it has been accepted and filed by the Registry and a number issued (as in CV 427/2012). Therefore, while it may be sound common sense to require that AFTER FILING attorneys must advertise the matter at their/their clients’ expense, basically what the Registrar is saying is that the Registry is not accepting applications period. Because you cannot advertise UNTIL the application has been FILED!
BU’s interpretation: You have to advertise that an application for probate in an estate has been filed, BUT YOU CANNOT FILE IT UNTIL IT IS ADVERTISED.
Under what law does the Registrar have the right to refuse a filing in what is, after all, a court proceeding? Has the CJ been asleep during this debacle, or is he merely too busy on the cocktail circuit and delivering senseless speeches in New York just to show the legal luminaries there that he is now of their calibre and not, as they almost certainly believed, a minor legal functionary who would never rise above that level?
While it is quite clear that the acting registrar holds no truck with nepotism, a quick brush-up on law and, more importantly common sense (which is supposed to be a cornerstone of the law might not come amiss. The acting registrar is given a little leeway by BU due to the fact that she is acting and is new to the job. But BU’s patience as far as the judicial system is concerned has a very short expiry date indeed. So, Madam Acting Registrar, consider yourself put on notice.
Also, Madam Acting Registrar, as you must be well aware, there are quite a few licensed legal practitioners who, following the Constitution, are not members of the BA. Have you chosen to send a copy of your unfortunate, challengeable and unenforceable edict to them? Have you advertised said edict, at least in the Official Gazette? Or are you going to wait until one of them sues you like they did Marva Clarke?
The process of probate has been increasingly prolonged from 2 to 3 months to 1 to 2 years. So forget about a swift and decisive closure (probate-wise) after the death of a loved one with the sometimes (and common) inter-family bad feeling that comes once the contents of the will are revealed. It seems that the Registry is determined to prolong this pain as well as retard/frustrate the healing process.
BU notes with interest that the citation of the case has at its defendant Marva Clarke and so we must assume that Marva Clarke was sued personally, as well as in her capacity as registrar. It is then no leap to assume that it is likely that costs may have been awarded against Ms Clarke personally. Is it that, Madam Acting Registrar, that given you pause and has encouraged your edict?
It is discouraging to see that, instead of doing their jobs properly in the first place, the justice system’s practice of “caveat rumpus” is still firmly in situ, to the detriment of the people whose tax dollars pay their salaries.