Affidavits of Medical Practitioners Supporting a Petition


Practice Direction Ward of Courts

I, Mary Irvine, President of the High Court, hereby issue the following practice direction in accordance with s.11 (12) of the Civil Law and Criminal Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020. This practice direction, which concerns the content of medical affidavits / medical reports in relation to Wardship Proceedings, will come into force on 5th October, 2020. 

The following information must be included in the affidavit and/or medical report of any registered medical practitioner whose evidence is to be relied upon to support a petition presented under of the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.

(1)        The date, place, duration and circumstances in which the medical examination was carried out.  (The examination should have been carried out within three months of the presentation of the petition).

(2)        The nature and duration of any prior relationship between the medical practitioner and the respondent.

(3)       The nature of the examination carried out and details of the test and/or capacity tools deployed for the purpose of concluding whether the respondent is or is not of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs.

(4)        Whether in the opinion of the registered medical practitioner, the respondent is or is not of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs. 

(5)        Where the medical practitioner is of the opinion that the respondent is of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs i.e. lacks capacity, he/she should state:

            (i)         the nature of the respondent’s illness/condition;

            (ii)        the likely date of onset of that illness/condition;

            (iii)       the symptoms pertaining to that illness/condition;

            (iv)       the evidence relied upon in making their diagnosis; and

            (v)        whether the illness/condition is permanent or likely to improve.

(6)    Where a medical report is prepared containing the above information, any verifying affidavit sworn by the medical practitioner need only affirm the content of the medical report. The medical practitioner is not required to set out seriatim in their affidavit the information contained in their report.

(7)     Any such medical affidavit must be sworn within one month of the date on which   the medical examination was carried out and the jurat must comply with S.I. 95 of 2009. 

This Practice Direction will remain in force until further notice.


Mary Irvine

President of the High Court

Date: 2nd September, 2020

High court