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Missing Persons

Justice written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice

(1) what plans he has to review the law relating to presumption of death provisions;

(2) what practical assistance is given to those whose loved ones are missing presumed dead;

(3) what arrangements are in place to allow all lines of police enquiry and evidence to be pursued before any decision regarding presumption of death can be made; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

I refer my hon. Friend to my written statement of 20 June 2013, Hansard, column 40WS, announcing that the Ministry of Justice and the General Register Office are working to create the necessary rules of court and registration regulations and the associated procedures to implement the Presumption of Death Act 2013, which will create a single certificate of presumed death effective for all purposes. Last year, the Ministry of Justice and the Missing Persons Bureau prepared a factsheet about existing procedures for presuming a person to be dead to assist families of missing people in resolving their affairs.

Any application under existing procedures or under the new Presumption of Death Act 2013 will need to be supported by evidence as to the probable death of the missing person or of the person having been missing for seven years. What is required in any given case will depend on the circumstances but is likely to include the outcome of any police investigation.

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Meggie Crane
Posted on 9 Dec 2013 9:26 am (Report this annotation)

Ms Grant,

The firm I work for act for a client whose spouse disappeared some eighteen months ago, presumed dead. Do the provisions currently in force permit an application under the Presumption of Death Act 2013 or will our client need to wait for the remaining provisions to be implemented by way of Statutory Instrument?

With thanks in advance.

Meggie Crane