The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act (ADM Act) was passed by the Oireachtas at the end of 2015. This legislation replaces the 1871 Regulation of Lunacy Act which provides the basis for the current Ward of Court system. There is widespread recognition that the Ward of Court system is outdated and incompatible with modern approaches to disability and human rights.
For some people with an ABI this legislation significantly alters how they will be able to make decisions about their own lives. Once enforced, there will be steps in place to support people with ABI to exercise their legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life. Therefore this new legislation will make a positive contribution to their day-to-day lives. It not only provides safeguards against abuse but is empowering people to be active participants, make choices and live a life of their own choosing. These are all elements that will contribute to the person’s successful recovery through rehabilitation.
As of April 2016 the legislation has been enacted but not commenced, meaning that the former system is currently still in force. When the Act is commenced all current Wards of Court will have their situation reviewed by the OPG and have the appropriate arrangement under the 2015 Act put in place. This will take some time and in cases where a review is urgent the OPG should be notified of the circumstances as soon as possible.
Forms and detailed rules for the various decision-making arrangements have not been finalised and Codes of Practice and guidance for practitioners and the public have not yet been produced. You can download the Policy Briefing Paper here.