A High Court judge has today made a declaration presuming Lord Lucan's death, which has allowed his son to obtain a death certificate for his late father. He son now inherits Lord Lucan's title.
The presumption of death was made pursuant to the Presumption of Death Act 2013 (PDA), which came into force on 1 October 2014.
Before the PDA, there was no single framework for obtaining a declaration that a missing person was to be presumed dead. Family members wishing to set the missing person's affairs in order had to use different procedures for different purposes, for example, to end a marriage or civil partnership. The PDA 2013 now provides a single procedure and a legal equivalent to a death certificate.
The court must make a declaration of presumed death if it is satisfied that the missing person:
Has not been known to be alive for a period of at least seven years
A declaration of presumed death is conclusive of the fact, date and time of death and is effective for all purposes against all persons.
Lord Lucan has finally been declared dead after an application by the only son of missing peer for a death certificate was accepted by a High Court judge. George Bingham applied under the Presumption of Death Act, which came into effect in 2014, so he can inherit the title as 8th Earl. Lord Lucan vanished after Sandra Rivett, nanny to his three children, was found murdered at the family home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, central London, on November 7 1974. Mrs Justice Asplin gave a decision in the case in London on Wednesday. Mrs justice Asplin said: "I consider it a straightforward matter that the court must make the declaration that is sought in this case. I am happy to make that order."