Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity)

Our self-advocacy group called for the Capacity Act to be commenced before Budget 2017.

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on December 30th 2015.

This ground-breaking legislation will result in significant improvements in the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities as their ability to make decisions for themselves will be enshrined in law. 

The legislation also demonstrates a seismic cultural shift away from a paternalistic and ‘best interests’ approach towards persons with intellectual disabilities to a right-based approach of choice, control and consent.

The new Act also removes a significant barrier to ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

1. Latest Updates

Current Status of the Decision Support Service

Parts of Capacity Act signed into Law (October 2016)

Capacity Fact Sheet (January 2016)

The Official Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013

The Journey to Date

Inclusion Ireland Press Releases on Capacity

Citizens Information Board - Capacity Act 2015

2. Videos

Inclusion Ireland and Capacity (2015)

Assisted Decision Making - In Our Own Words

3. What is Capacity?

Capacity relates broadly to decision making and a person's ability to do so. When we are discussing capacity we will look at two different ideas, legal capacity and mental or decision-making capacity. Full explanation of Capacity can be viewed in the Inclusion Ireland Capacity Fact Sheet

Legal Capacity is a recognition that all persons have a right to make decisions and have those decisions recognised regardless of disability.

Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) says that countries "recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life".

Inclusion Ireland was among a number of groups that developed 'Essential Principles of Legal Capacity' and this can be read at this link

Mental Capacity (sometimes called Decision-Making Capacity) is more closely aligned to mental functioning and intelligence. Under this process a person who is found to lack capacity may have their rights to make decisions curtailed or substituted to another person. 

Ireland has signed The UN Convention (in 2007) but is among 27 countries yet to ratify it. Click to see a map of Signatories and Ratifications

Practical examples of the law in action are listed below:

(a) Medical Decisions

"Every adult patient is presumed to have the capacity to make decisions about their own healthcare. As their doctor, you have a duty to help your patients to make decisions for themselves by giving them information in a clear and comprehensible manner and by ensuring that they have appropriate help and support. The patient is also entitled to be accompanied during any such discussion by an advocate of their own choice"  (pg 34)

Irish Medical Council Guide to Professionsal Conduct and Ethics 

(b) Ward of Court 

"The main purpose of Wardship is to look after the welfare and to protect the property of a person where this is considered
necessary. The Office of Wards of Court is responsible for administering this process"

Information Sheets & Publications

UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities

Free Legal Advice Guide to Wills and Intestacy

(c) Capacity

Conference presentations on Capacity and Supported Decision Making

(d) Other countries

(e) Proposed new legislation

(f) Reports/Publications