Father of missing chef Claudia meets minister over new law

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Peter Lawrence, the father of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence, has held a meeting met with a minister earlier this week over concerns about delays to laws linked to missing people who are presumed dead.

The meeting with Lord Edward Faulks, justice minister in the Lords, was arranged by Nigel Adams MP for Selby and Ainsty and news of the meeting comes after the Conservative MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, this week raised the issue in the House of Commons and insisted the Presumption of Death Act was of the “utmost importance” to families whose loved ones have disappeared.

He called for more information about the legislation, which aims to allow relatives to deal with the affairs of someone who is missing and presumed dead.

Following the meeting Mr Lawrence said: “I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with Lord Faulks who holds the portfolio for missing people’s affairs.

“It is clear that he is personally committed to seeing the Presumption of Death Act 2013 brought into force as well as proceeding with the promised consultation on Guardianship of people’s financial and legal affairs.”

The Act was granted Royal assent in March last year to allow relatives to apply for a single certificate declaring someone presumed dead, helping to resolve that person’s affairs. Miss Lawrence, was last seen in March 2009, walking near her home in York.

Her father, Peter, a solicitor, has been at the forefront of the campaign to instigate the new law which will mean families are able to deal with issues such as suspending direct debits for mobile phone and utility bills under a so-called power of guardianship.