Image: Claudia Lawrence’s father, Peter Lawrence, in front of the Palace of Westminster
Nigel Adams MP was proud to co-sponsor a 10-minute Rule Bill on Guardianship introduced to the House of Commons by Kevin Hollinrake MP on Wednesday 11th January 2017.
Dubbed ‘Claudia’s Law’, referring to the case of Claudia Lawrence who is still missing after nearly 8 years, it’s hoped new legislation will allow families to be able to look after the financial affairs of a loved one whilst they are missing. A legally appointed guardian, related to the individual who has been missing for 90 days or more, would be given authority to act on behalf of the missing person and be required do so in the best interests of the individual. The guardianship would be administered by the Office of the Public Guardian and would be renewable depending on circumstances.
Peter Lawrence, Claudia’s father, watched from the gallery as his MP, Mr. Hollinrake, unveiled details of the bill.
The charity Missing People, has been campaigning for Guardianship laws. Under the current law when a person goes missing their property is effectively left ownerless and no one has legal authority to protect it on their behalf.
Mr. Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, appealed to his colleagues to support the bill because he said it gave them a real opportunity to make a difference, saying:
“Today is an important day for many families who have already suffered so much, they need to be able to protect the finances of their loved one and do their best for the missing person and all their relatives. I hope this will in some way ease the burden and help people who find themselves in this situation in the future.”
The second reading of the bill is due to take place on 3rd February 2017. The Government previously held a consultation on similar proposals in 2015, and given the broad cross-party support, it is currently expected that the proposal will ultimately be adopted.