The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Families of missing persons furious at legal delay

The families of missing persons have criticised the Government for failing to introduce new legislation to help them get over the torment of dealing with the administration after someone is missing for many years, reports The Independent.

Peter Lawrence's daughter Claudia disappeared after leaving work five years ago. Mr Lawrence used the looming anniversary of his daughter's disappearance this week to criticise the Government for dragging its heels over legal reforms that would allow his family to move on from the disappearance of their loved one.

Families of missing persons often fail to gain closure many years after the disappearance of their relative, hampered by the inability to secure a death certificate that would allow them to administer an estate, deal with a business or claim life insurance.

The Presumption of Death Act 2013 was actually passed by Parliament last year, but the Government has failed to bring the Act into force. The plan had originally been to introduce the law by next month, but it will now not come into force until October.

The Presumption of Death Act 2013 will allow the families of missing persons the ability to apply for a Declaration of Presumed Death when it is believed that someone has died, or where there has been no evidence that they have been alive for at least seven years.

Mr Lawrence is convinced his daughter was abducted and murdered by someone she knew, after she disappeared after leaving her work as a chef at the University of York.

"It's just a nightmare. Every day is eating into you, wondering what on earth has happened. It doesn't get any better. It gets more difficult as time goes on," Mr Lawrence told The Independent.

The disappearance of Claudia Lawrence will be featured on this week's Crimewatch programme on BBC One as police bid to gain information from the public relating to her disappearance.