The Government has published the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013.
The Government press release published in conjunction with the Bill provides that the Bill will:
- replace the Wards of Court system with a legal framework to support people in exercising their decision-making capacity so that they can better manage their personal welfare, property and financial affairs
- change the existing law on capacity from the current all or nothing status approach to a functional one, whereby decision-making capacity is assessed on an issue-and time-specific basis
- provide a range of supports, on a continuum of intervention levels (for instance, decision-making assistance, co-decision-making, decision-making representation, informal support), to support people in maximising their decision-making capability
- provide, in circumstances where it is not possible for a person to exercise their capacity even with support, that another person can be appointed by the Court to act as their representative with regard to specified matters
- provide that the Circuit Court will have jurisdiction on this area giving court-backed protection to the options chosen by people
- clarify the law for carers who take on responsibility for persons who need help in making decisions
- establish an Office of Public Guardian within the Courts Service, with supervisory powers to protect vulnerable persons
- subsume into the Bill the provisions in the Powers of Attorney Act 1996 on enduring powers in order to bring them into line with the general principles and safeguards in the Bill.
View the Bill, as initiated, and its Explanatory Memorandum here.
View the press release here.