Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, signed the Commencement Order to bring the Civil Law (Presumption of Death) Act 2019 into operation from Friday, 1st of November 2019.
This is the culmination of five years of work by Senator Colm Burke, who first introduced it in 2014.
Senator Burke said: “This legislation is intended to help families who find themselves in a tragic situation, when someone is missing and presumed dead.
“In such a heart-breaking situation, this new law puts a framework in place to help them navigate the legal quagmire.
“My work in this area has brought me in contact with families who have tragic stories; I am very pleased this legislation will easy their legal burdens at a very difficult time.
“Where the circumstances clearly indicate that death is virtually certain, a court application will not be subject to a minimum waiting period. Where the application is to the effect that death is highly probable, family can apply to Court 12 months after the person has gone missing.
“In 2013 the Law Reform Commission published a report called ‘Civil Law Aspects of Missing Persons’, which clearly identified the legal challenges encountered by the families of missing persons. This legislation will now provide a clear pathway for families to overcome those challenges at what is already a very difficult time for them.
“I want to thank my fellow Senators Marie-Louise O’Donnell and Lynn Ruane for their assistance in getting the Bill through the Seanad and also to thank the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, and his Department for their work in making this legislation a reality,” the Cork Senator said.