Decision on death certificate for Lord Lucan to be taken in spring
A decision on whether to grant a death certificate for Lord Lucan will be taken by a High Court judge in the spring.
Today, senior official Master Teverson said that the case should be heard between the beginning of February and the end of March.
The missing peer's only son, George Bingham, has applied under the Presumption of Death Act, which came into effect a year ago, 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.
Master Teverson also gave permission for Miss Rivett's son Neil Berriman to intervene in the case.
Lord Bingham attended the brief hearing and said afterwards that the time for comment was when the case returned to court.
Even though Lord Lucan was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999, there have been reported sightings in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand, and even claims that he fled to India and lived life as a hippy called "Jungly Barry".
Lord Bingham says the 1999 declaration had not proved death "for all purposes" and the new law allows for a "more complete process".
On the night of the peer's disappearance, the nanny's attacker also turned on Lord Bingham's mother, Lady Lucan, beating her severely before she managed to escape and raise the alarm at a nearby pub.
Lord Lucan's car was found abandoned and soaked in blood in Newhaven, East Sussex, and an inquest jury declared him the killer a year later.