Applications for lasting power of attorney will be available on the web from next April as one of a batch of digital services, the Ministry of Justice revealed today.

The service is one of four picked by the department to meet central government’s call for ‘digital by default’ public services to be introduced by April 2015.

An online process for granting lasting power of attorney was proposed last July in a consultation by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). The idea is to boost the number of people using the process from the current total of around 200,000 a year, and to reduce the number of errors.

The decision follows a consultation by the OPG in July.

At the time, Alan Eccles, the public guardian, said: ‘More and more people are now taking the important decision to apply for lasting powers of attorney and we want to make sure we provide the best possible service for them - one that is simple, straightforward and effective.

‘The proposed new online application process will make applying simpler and quicker, while the changes we plan to make in the "back-office" will make the whole service more efficient.’

Other digital by default projects at the MoJ include:

  • Improving the online process for making civil claims, including money claims and possession to make it ‘simpler and swifter’.
  • Online payments of the new fees for employment tribunals, to be ready by July 2013.
  • Online bookings for prison visits by pre-approved members of the public.

Several other government agencies are running digital projects of relevance to solicitors.

These include online management of IP rights at the Intellectual Property Office, allowing companies, individuals and intermediaries to apply for, track and manage their patents, trade marks and designs.

Meanwhile the Land Registry will offer new online services for gaining information on and registering property. However, this is less ambitious than the ‘e-conveyancing’ programme planned in the mid-2000s, which executives now admit was ahead of its time.

The Home Office’s exemplar digital services will be e-gates at border crossings, online Criminal Records Bureau clearance and visitor visa applications.