Today Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer, hosted a debate in Parliament on protecting the affairs and property of missing people (also known as Claudia’s Law). Mr Sturdy has been working closely with the charity Missing People, and his constituent Peter Lawrence whose daughter Claudia sadly disappeared back in 2009.
At present when someone goes missing their families are often left unable to properly manage their affairs. Mortgages can be left unpaid, risking repossession, and direct debits cannot be cancelled, risking insolvency, because banks and third parties can only deal with their customers directly due to data protection and contract law.
In March 2015 the Government promised to introduce new legislation to create a new legal status of guardian of the property and affairs of missing people to resolve this issue. Since this announcement there has been no progress in bringing a Bill forward.
Mr Sturdy called on the Government to commit to a clear parliamentary timetable to introduce a new law to guarantee that missing people’s property and finances can be properly protected by their families.
Speaking after the debate Mr Sturdy said, “We must ensure that these vital protections are put in place as quickly as possible to help families whose loved ones go missing. It was reassuring to hear that from the Minister that the Government remain committed to delivering these important changes, and I will continue the campaign until the Government delivers on its promises.
“Whilst it is disappointing that the Minister could not commit to a definitive date for bringing this legislation forward I will be listening closely to the Queen’s Speech on 18th May with hope and anticipation.”
In response to Mr Sturdy the Minister of State for Justice Dominic Rabb MP said, “I know my honourable friend and Mr Lawrence will be disappointed that we have not legislated sooner, I acknowledge that. All I can say is that we will do everything we can to progress the proposals into legislation and I am inspired by the example that he and my hon. Friend set in this regard.”