Claudia Lawrence’s father in bid to change law on missing people

First published in News

THE father of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence hopes the Government will back proposed new laws giving relatives of those who have disappeared more rights.

The Ministry of Justice is expected to confirm at the end of March whether it will agree to push forward legislation allowing families of people who have been missing for more than three months to apply for permission from a court to deal with their personal affairs, such as bank accounts and mortgages.

The Justice Select Committee has recommended the introduction of the new laws following an inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, which Claudia’s father Peter has championed.

University of York chef Claudia, from Heworth, who was 35 at the time she vanished, has not been seen since March 2009, and Mr Lawrence told a Westminster meeting of the all-party group yesterday that a Bill enshrining the new missing people’s “guardianship” rights would be “a win-win for the Government”.

“It will not cost time or money, there is cross-party support for it and it will allow the Government to help hundreds of families who are in the position of not being able to deal with their families’ affairs,” he said.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy and Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams also attended yesterday’s meeting, and Mr Adams said he hoped to ask Prime Minister David Cameron for his views on the proposed Bill – which would also simplify the process for a missing person to be certified ‘presumed dead’ – during Prime Minister’s Questions.

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