Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ireland Law Reform Commission Report on Missing Persons

The Law Reform Commission of Ireland has released its Report on Civil Law Aspects of Missing Persons.

From the press release:
"(...) the Law Reform Commission concludes that there is a need to have a statutory framework to deal with some immediate practical problems for family members (often referred to as those left behind). In particular, there is a need to allow access to a missing person’s bank account (especially where the bank account is in his or her sole name) so that bills can be paid. The Commission therefore recommends that legislation should be enacted to allow the family left behind to apply to the Circuit Court after a person has been missing for 90 days to allow interim management of the missing person’s property. This would allow the family to pay bills or, for example, to renew insurance on a car or motorbike. This process could be in place for up to 2 years (with a possible extension of 2 more years). "

"Presumption of Death Orders
The current law is primarily based on a long-established rule that there is a presumption that a missing person is alive for up to 7 years, and that a presumption of death applies after 7 years. These are rebuttable presumptions, which means that a person can be presumed dead where they have been missing for less than 7 years, and an absence of 7 years does not always lead to a declaration of presumed death. The current law is limited in that family members may apply to the High Court to have the estate of the missing persons administered, but this does not allow them to obtain a death certificate (...) The Commission’s Report recommends reform of the law on presumed death, in particular to ensure that families can deal as far as possible in the least expensive way with the emotional trauma of their loved one going missing. This would include clarifying the existing law on inquests to allow families of missing persons to apply for a coroner’s inquest and to have a declaration of presumed death; this would apply to cases where death is virtually certain. In cases where death is highly probable the Commission recommends that an application to the Circuit Court would be needed to provide not only for the administration of the missing person’s estate but also to make a presumption of death order, allowing the family of the missing person to obtain a death certificate. This would have the same legal effect as any other death certificate."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 7:23 pm

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