Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017: Implementing the Act

Closed 12 Feb 2019

Opened 19 Dec 2018

Results updated 29 Apr 2019

The consultation sought views on the various measures required to implement the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017. Responses showed that the legislation is widely supported.

Respondents largely focused on the draft Code of Practice (a statutory requirement) that provides guidance for guardians. Issues highlighted included joint ownership (both of finances and property), gifting, access to confidential information and the personal liability of guardians. There was a call for greater simplification and clarification of the Code.

In the government’s response we have acknowledged concerns and improved these aspects in the Code of Practice, giving clearer direction to guardians. We have responded to calls for the Code to use accessible language as far as possible, given that it is providing advice on a variety of legal issues and scenarios.

Respondents also made comments on the proposed court procedures and regulations for guardians, and there was support for these being based on the existing working rules and regulations for Presumption of Death Act 2013 proceedings and supervision of Deputies appointed under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 respectively.




The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 was passed to help families and others trying to cope with the effects of a disappearance of a loved one.

The Act creates a legal framework for those left behind to secure the appointment of a trusted person to use and look after the property and financial affairs of the person who is missing. The purpose of this consultation paper is to obtain views from the people, businesses and organisations, who will be most affected by the system, on how they think it should work, and what guidance they think would be the most helpful to the people who come into contact with it.

The consultation paper seeks views on: the content and presentation of the code of practice; the procedure to be followed by the court and the parties in guardianship cases; and the supervisory regime to be set up by the Public Guardian. We will use the replies we receive to settle the terms of the legislation in readiness for bring the Act into force in July 2019.

I would encourage everyone with an interest in this subject to read the consultation paper, to consider the questions asked, to reply to all or some of them, and, if there are points that are not covered by the questions, to tell us your views.

I am very grateful to everyone who takes the time to consider our proposals and to respond.

Rt Hon David Gauke MP
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Missing People

If you have experience of a family member going missing, you can share your views with Missing People rather than filling out the whole consultation. Contact them via email at or call 020 8392 4524.


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