After a very protracted journey, including amendments introduced even before it had been implemented, Ireland’s Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 has finally been commenced as of today, 26 April 2023:
This means, amongst other things, that from now:
- The Decision Support Service will be able to process applications for decision support arrangements
- The Circuit Court will be able to process applications for Decision Making Representative Orders
- There will be statutory provision for the making and recognition of Advance Healthcare Directives
- Wardship will be abolished and the over 2000 wards of court which currently exist in the State will have a review of their circumstances undertaken by the wardship court and will exit wardship on a phased basis over the next three years.
For reflections on the journey to the Act, I strongly suggest (albeit with a bit of bias as there is a bit from me in it), the collection of essays edited by Mary Donnelly and Caoimhe Gleeson called The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015: Personal and Professional Reflections, available for free here. This collection of essays, written from both personal and professional perspectives, highlights both the context for and different aspects of this ground-breaking piece of legislation. You can also watch a video of the launch of the book in November 2021 here. Contributors at the launch included Ms Aine Flynn, Director of the Decision Support Service, Professor Mary Donnelly, School of Law, UCC, Ms Caoimhe Gleeson, Programme Manager, National Office for Human Rights and Equality Policy, and some of the essay authors including Adam Harris, Claire Hendrick, Helen Rochford Brennan, Fiona Anderson and Suzie Byrne).
I will be watching with huge interest as the Act starts to be implemented, and hope to be able to play my own small part in flagging elephant traps to be avoided from experiences in England & Wales.