Saturday 26 October 2013

Where are the wills? Searching for the searchroom

I heard from a couple of reliable sources this week that the Principal Probate Registry searchroom is no longer at First Avenue House, but has moved to the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand. This move will only affect researchers who want to search and order wills in person in London; other registries and postal searches through the District Probate Registry at Leeds will not be affected.

Information about HM Courts and Tribunals Service can be found on both the and GOV.UK sites, but both link to the same page for the London Probate Service still giving the First Avenue House address and opening hours. I could not find any announcement about the move on either site, but the Society of Genealogists received a notice from HM Courts and Tribunals Service which they published on 17 October. It reads:

With effect from Monday 21 October 2013 the London Probate search facility currently ar High Holborn will be moving to Court 38, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL 
The opening hours will be 9am to 4pm although please note the search facility will be unavailable between the hours of 1-2pm.  
The fee payable for this service should be paid at the Fees Office, Royal Courts of Justice, which is signposted within the building. Maps will also be available prior to the opening of the search facility at the new location.  
The search facility will consist of the same search facilities as now, there will still be no Level One Service, copies ordered for collection will be ready after 48 Hours, if you have requested the postal option, and the copies will be posted within 14 working days. 
If you have any enquiries please contact a member of the London Probate team on 020 7947 6043

This number and the general enquiries number from the London Probate Department page have been added to the Royal Courts of Justice page. You can download a map of Courtrooms in the Royal Courts of Justice which shows that Court 38 is on the ground floor of the West Green Building, near the Carey Street Entrance.

I don't know what the situation will be when the courts re-open on Monday, but earlier this week my sources said the searchroom terminals were not yet up and running, so if you are planning a visit I would strongly suggest that you ring and check first.


1 comment:

  1. The latest news is that there will be no computer terminals for at least two weeks. Staff will do up to 7 look-ups for customers on their computers. It's apparently a cabling issue, but quite why all the cabling couldn't have been done at once is one of those mysteries known only to the probate service.