– Information provided by John O’Connor Solicitors
Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law in December 2015 finally repealing a number of antiquated legislative provisions dealing with the area of incapacity primarily the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.
It was initially envisaged that it would take up to 12 months to commence all provisions of the new legislation including the setting up of the agency known as the Decision Support Service (DSS) within the Mental Health Commission. Unfortunately few provisions of the Act have been commenced to date and relate to the establishment of the DSS and working group to establish the code of practice for Advance Healthcare Directives.
The key change set out under the Act is in relation to the definition of capacity, while previously it was assessed on a ‘status’ basis – you either had it or you didn’t – now it can be assessed on a ‘functional’ basis. A range of new legal options are available to assist people in maximising their decision-making ability based to include the appointment of decision-making assistants, co-decision makers or decision-making representatives.
This DSS will underpin the new regime by supervising and handling complaints against persons appointed under the above roles in addition to attorneys of enduring powers and designated healthcare representatives.
Under the new Act any person who has been made a ward of court under the previous legislation will be reviewed within 3 years and eventually discharged, and a different order will be made based on the person’s capacity. In addition for the first time under Irish law recognition will be given to advance healthcare directives which will allow a person to set out their preferences in relation to their medical treatment as well as appointing a representative to take healthcare decisions on their behalf in the event they lose capacity.
The Citizens Information Board have an excellent guide to this act. You can find it here; https://www.citizensinformationboard.ie/downloads/relate/relate_2016_04.pdf
For further information on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act, contact John O’Connor Solicitors today.