The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 was signed into law on the 30 December 2015. The Act is about supporting decision-making and maximising a person’s capacity to make decisions.
The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act 2022 was signed into law by the President on 17 December 2022. This amending legislation, in the form of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill 2022 (the Amendment Bill) was necessary for the full commencement of the 2015 Act. The Amendment Bill was required to streamline processes set out in the 2015 Act and to improve safeguards.
The Courts Service is awaiting an updated announcement from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth setting out a timeline for commencement.
A new legal framework:
The Act introduces a new legal framework for supported decision-making in Ireland. It includes new statutory principles and practical supports for persons who may have difficulties with their decision-making capacity, including but not limited to persons with an intellectual disability, psychiatric illness, acquired brain injury, or age-related condition, such as dementia.
The Act ensures greater protection for vulnerable members of society in relation to their decision-making capacity and is a welcomed substitution for the expiring Wardship System. One of the guiding principles of the Act is the presumption of capacity. Everyone is presumed to have capacity unless the Court declares otherwise. This ensures that every case is treated individually and that certain cohorts of people are not automatically deemed to lack capacity.
How does this impact the Courts Service?
ADMC applications will be made to the Circuit Court. The assisted decision making process is a completely different way to support people and families who may have difficulties making decisions. The Act establishes a Decision Support Service (DSS) within the Mental Health Commission to oversee the operation of the 2015 Act and to carry out the functions currently carried out by the Office of the Wards of Court.
Where can I make an application under ADMC Act Legislation?
Applications will be accepted in offices where circuit court matters can be heard.
We will provide further updates as we move towards commencement.