Julian presses Minister on implementing ‘Claudia’s law’ for missing people
February 12, 2019
This morning Julian pressed the Under Secretary of State for Justice on the need to implement the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 as soon as possible, to deliver certainty and relief for affected families, in a debate in Westminster Hall in the House of Commons. This legislation is known to most as ‘Claudia’s Law’ after Claudia Lawrence who went missing in York back in March 2009.
Guardianship allows families to manage the financial and property affairs of a person who goes missing. Without these powers, families of missing people can struggle to pay bills and mortgage payments on their behalf, and direct debits can continue to be withdrawn, which is very concerning for families, and compounds their grief and distress at what is already a very difficult time.
This campaign has been led by York resident Peter Lawrence, Claudia’s father, and the charity Missing People. Julian has supported the Lawrence family and other campaigners together with other MPs on this issue over several years, and has been very active in making the case for this reform at Westminster.
Although the Act was passed into law, receiving Royal assent in April 2017, two years on the Ministry of Justice has still not yet finalised the technical preparations that allow it to be put into effect, which they now expect to have completed by July. Julian has been pressing Ministers over some months to bring this law into effect as soon as possible, previously pushing the government to commit to implementation before the end of 2018.
Julian spoke twice in this morning’s debate, stressing it was essential that the timetable did not slip any further beyond July, and extracting a commitment from the Minister, Edward Argar, to keep all those MPs who attended the debate fully updated on the ongoing implementation process, so they could be assured the government will deliver on the July timetable. The Minister agreed to write to all MPs to keep them informed on progress, and also commended Julian for his campaigning on this issue.
After leaving the debate, Julian said:
“Families in York and across the country need this Act to be implemented as soon as possible, which is why I got the Minister to commit to updating MPs on his department’s work towards the July timetable for introduction.
1000 people go missing every year, with 2500 people already waiting for the activation of guardianship powers so they can protect the interests of their loved ones. I have campaigned on this issue for several years in support of the amazing work of the Lawrence family and charity Missing People, and given this became law back in 2017, I know that all involved feel this process has been delayed for far too long. Families urgently need the certainty and relief the Act will bring, and I will continue to hold the government to the July timetable.”