Essential Principles: Irish Legal Capacity Law

April 2012

Amnesty International Ireland and the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, NUI Galway have teamed up with 15 organisations to write a set of key principles the new capacity law must reflect.

Legal capacity is the ability to make decisions and have such decisions respected in all areas of life (for example decisions about medical treatment, how to spend your money, where you live, etc,). Ireland currently has the most outdated capacity law of its kind in Europe. Dating from 1871, the Regulation of Lunacy (Ireland) Act desperately needs updating. The Government is drafting new law but there is serious concern this law is not in line with human rights standards and so will not be fit for purpose.

Together we are calling for the new capacity bill to reflect these Essential Principles, which are informed by best international practice and the guiding ethos of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The organisations calling for these principles to underpin and inform new capacity law are: Age Action Ireland, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Amnesty International, the Centre for Disability Law and Policy NUIG, the Disability Federation of Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, Irish Advocacy Network, the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association, Mental Health Ireland, Mental Health Reform, the National Advocacy Service, the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Shine and St. Patrick’s University Hospital.