Presumption of Death

The campaign for a better presumption of death system for families of missing people

As part of the Missing Rights campaign, Missing People successfully campaigned for an improved presumption of death system to be introduced in England and Wales.

We called for new provisions modelled on those already in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland, so that that all UK families have access to a clear and useable system. The Presumption of Death Act 2013 was passed in March 2013 and came fully into force on 1 October 2014, and addressed flaws in the former system by creating a new court procedure which can lead to the issue of a Certificate of Presumed Death.

Details of the campaign can be found in this section, and our policy briefing on the new Act can be found on our policy page. If you are a family looking for information on presumption of death, please see our guidance for families of missing people.

Missing News

The Policy and Research team circulates a regular newsletter, Missing News, containing up to date information about research, policy, events and sector developments. To sign up to Missing News, or to read previous editions, click here.

Whilst the campaign for presumption of death law reform is complete, we will be monitoring how the new law works in practice after it is brought into force October 2014, and families’ experiences of it.

We will do this by speaking to families and professionals who use the new law, and asking how they have found the process; for example, how easy it was to use the new system, how long it took to make their application, and the costs associated with it. We will then use the information we have gathered to make guidance materials for families and professionals on presumption of death, and, if there are any issues with the new system, we will feed these back to the Government.

If you would like to share your experience of using the new system once in place, please email the Policy and Research team by clicking This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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