About this blog

Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Sunday 30 June 2019

Missing Persons New Law UPDATE

For the story so far see http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2019/06/alive-but-missing-new-law.html

That code of practice has now been published in draft form and will come into force with the rest of the new Act and supporting legislation on 31 July 2019. The code is a helpful read and you can access it at 

Monday 24 June 2019

Alive But Missing: New Law

The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 will come into force in England and Wales on 31 July 2019. It's taken a bit of time for this to happen after it was passed. I had considered reporting it as a missing piece of legislation.

The Act fills a gap in the law. If a person is missing for seven years then it may be possible to get the court to make an order that they are presumed to be dead. This then enables their affairs to be wound up as though their corpse had been found.

But say they're been missing for less than seven years or the evidence suggests that they are still alive, no matter how long they have not been heard of? This is where the new Act gets going. It will enable an adult to apply to the High Court to be appointed as their guardian and so administer their affairs. The application could be made by their spouse or civil partner or, with the court's permission, another relative or even a friend. If granted, the guardian would be able to access funds in the missing person's bank account, pay the mortgage instalments on their home or pay themselves maintenance, cancel a subscription to Playboy and do a myriad of other things in their best interests.

Before appointing a guardian the High Court will need to be satisfied that the person has been missing for at least the previous 90 days and that the appointment of a guardian is in the missing person's best interests. In urgent cases, the court will have a discretion to appoint a guardian even when the absence has been less than 90 days.

The court is likely to look for evidence from the police that the person has been reported to them as missing and to want to know the outcome of the police enquiries.

A code of or practice and procedural court rules dealing with these case are awaited.

If your marriage or civil partnership is a bit rocky, better not go on a prolonged holiday, eh?!

Sunday 23 June 2019

Divorce Reform Latest

For the story so far, see -

The proposed changes to matrimonial law are contained in the swingingly entitled Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill which is due to receive its second reading in the Commons next Tuesday 25 June 2019. 

A couple of surprises (to me, at least). Generally, if one of the parties to a marriage or civil partnership states in court papers that the marriage or civil partnership has irretrievably broken down, that will be accepted by the court as conclusive evidence that - it has irretrievably broken down. On the face if it, then, no chance for the other party to defend the case on the basis that, for example, 'She kissed me on the lips this morning and suggested we go on a second honeymoon'. My guess is that this provision will be attacked during the Bill's parliamentary passage.

And there will be the opportunity for the other party to the proceedings to block the finalising of the second decree - we call it the decree absolute at the moment -  so that the court can consider whether any financial provision for that party made by the party after their freedom from the relationship, is reasonable enough. Under the current law, this opportunity exits but only where the divorce or partnership dissolution is going ahead on the basis of separation (two years' with consent or five years even without consent).

I'll keep you posted.

Friday 7 June 2019

Mastercard Collective Claim: Very Latest

For plastic background, see -http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/MasterCard%20claim

Mastercard has requested permission from the Supreme Court to appeal to it against the Court of Appeal's ruling in favour of Walter Merricks. The request will be considered by Supreme Court Justices on the papers and their decision is expected before the end of July 2019.