We are delighted to announce the appointment of our head of private client, Matthew Edwards, to the newly formed Panel of Guardians for Missing Persons.The appointment took effect on 1 February 2020 following a selection process carried out by the Office of the Public Guardian. Matthew is one of just 22 people nationwide to be admitted to the panel.
The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 created a new legal representative role of Guardian. The role of a Guardian is to manage the financial affairs of someone who has been missing for a period of 90 days or more. For these purposes ‘missing’ includes people who are in prison. The legislation is informally known as ‘Claudia’s Law’ and was introduced following the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence in 2009 and a subsequent campaign by her father for a change in the law to allow a missing person’s financial affairs to be managed by a suitable person, typically a family member.
Prior to this change in the law there was no legal mechanism to protect the property and financial affairs of a missing person unless the High Court made a ‘declaration of presumed death’.
In most cases Matthew will accept Guardianship appointments from the Office of the Public when there is no suitable person to act. Matthew’s latest appointment follows his appointment in 2015 to the Court of Protection Panel of Professional Deputies. In this capacity Matthew routinely acts for people who lack mental capacity to manage their financial affairs.
If you are interested in any of our Private Client services then please contact our Private Client Team for further information.