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 died.

  • 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.