A bill named after missing University of York chef, Claudia Lawrence, will become law after passing unopposed in the House of Lords today.
The Guardianship (Missing Persons) bill will pass into law next week when it receives Royal Assent.
The legislation, commonly known as ‘Claudia’s Law’, will allow court-appointed guardians to manage the affairs and finances of a missing person, enabling them to handle payments from 90 days after a person is reported missing.
Campaigners for the charity Missing People estimate that the law will benefit up to 2,500 families.
Currently, under English law, a person’s disappearance does not affect the ownership of their property. This means family members are often unable to intervene to save the finances of a missing person, risking bankruptcy.
Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk, Malton and Filey, hailed the victory, saying on Twitter: “[I am] delighted that Claudia’s Bill became law today, will help many people when they need it most”.
Claudia Lawrence was a chef at the University’s Goodricke College, before disappearing on her way to work on March 18th 2009.
The authorities have treated Claudia Lawrence’s disappearance as a murder investigation.
However, despite an exhaustive investigation and multiple arrests, no-one has been charged in connection with her disappearance.
Around 250,000 people are estimated to go missing every year in the UK, more than the total population of York. However, most missing people cases are solved within 48 hours.