The Claudia’s Law also known as the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017, came into force on Wednesday 31st July 2019.
This is a welcomed change in the law that now allows families of a missing loved ones, the ability to take control of their financial affairs in their absence.
This is believed to be an advance in recognising the responsibilities placed on relatives when someone goes missing. Before the legal system did not make it easy to obtain permission to act on there loved ones behalf.
Previously, families could take over the financial responsibilities of a missing person, but only if they were declared as dead under the Presumption of Death Act 2013. So in the case of a missing person where there is no body family would be stuck in a quite compromising position.
The new legislation is named after “Claudia Lawrence”, who vanished without trace a decade ago. Police believe the 35-year-old from York was murdered, as she has not been seen since March 18th 2009 and a body was never found. Her father Peter Lawrence has campaigned tirelessly for changes to the law since his daughters’ disappearance.
"There was no law in this country which enabled people to deal with the affairs of anyone who's missing" - Peter Lawrence OBE
However that has all changed as on the 31st July 2019, #ClaudiasLaw came in to effect in the UK, allowing families to apply to the High Court for guardianship of the affairs of a missing person after they have been gone for 90 days or longer.
It will mean they can handle everyday financial matters like making mortgage payment and suspending direct debits for up to four years, before having the option of renewing the legal status.
Applicants will have to provide evidence the person is missing and their credentials, the application will be made to the Chancery Division or the Family Division of the High Court using a “part 8 claim form”, which is available to download online.
We understand that there can be nothing scarier then not being able to get in contact with a loved one, and anything to help keep life at a level of normality is a great help to family. Also the sense of control has seen many families deal with the situation they find themselves in.
Fees start at £200 to register and means-tested financial support is available to applicants, accordingly form the Ministry of Justice website (MoJ).