A Ten Minute Rule Bill will be read by Kevin Hollinrake MP later today, which we hope will bring families with missing loved ones a step closer to being granted guardianship rights. The proposed powers would give families the legal authority to act on their missing loved one’s behalf to safeguard their financial and legal affairs while they are missing.
The charity has been campaigning for a new law granting guardianship powers to families since 2011. The campaign has been spearheaded by a several families who are facing the emotional, legal and financial strain of a missing loved one, including Peter Lawrence, father of York chef Claudia, who has been missing since 2009, Rachel Edwards, whose brother Richard Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers has been missing since 1995, Vicki Derrick whose husband Vinny was missing for eight years before his body was located in 2012 and the family of Carl Hodges, who has been missing since February 2016.
Following a commitment from then Justice Minister Lord Faulks QC in March 2015 that the government supported guardianship legislation, the charity and its supporters, as well as MPs representing missing people and their families, have continued to campaign. Today’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, has already garnered cross party support and may mean that a guardianship bill could finally be introduced.
Peter Lawrence, who has been instrumental in keeping pressure on the government to urgently introduce guardianship, said: “The thousands of families with a missing adult, for whom I speak, are both pleased and relieved that the legislation which will enable them to look after their missing family member’s affairs has today moved one step closer.
“It has been a long time coming and we will continue to campaign and press the government until legislation is passed and in force. Only then can we do what everyone else takes for granted on a daily basis, and that is how we should be.”
Susannah Drury, Director of Services and Advocacy at the charity Missing People said: “We are encouraged to reach this stage after years of campaigning by families, the charity Missing People and Parliamentarians. Guardianship will help to lessen the strain on thousands of families already facing emotional distress, and mean that a returning missing person will not return to find their legal and financial affairs in disarray.
“Our sincere thanks go to all of the families who have fought for this legislation to be introduced while managing the often devastating impact of their loved one being missing. This process has been a huge effort on their parts to not only improve their own situations, but to prevent others facing such challenges in the future.
“We would urge the government to expedite the introduction of a guardianship bill. Every two minutes someone goes missing in the UK, so this is a situation where more families are affected with every day that passes.”
Following today’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, Kevin Hollinrake MP, who is a supporter of the guardianship campaign, and of the Lawrence family will give a second reading of the Bill on February 3rd 2017.