Update: Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act and Care Representative Applications
The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act, 2015 will commence on the 26th April 2023. The Courts Service continues to work with the Decision Support Service (DSS) and other agencies in preparation for the commencement date.
Section 21 of the Nursing Support Scheme Act, 2009 (Appointment of Care Representatives in case of a person not having full capacity) will be amended when the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act, 2015 (ADMC) is commenced.
Please note: The 25th of April 2023 is the last date for receipt of Care Representative applications in all Court Offices.
From 26th of April 2023, all such applications must be made pursuant to Part 5 of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act, 2015.
Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 - Commencement date 26 April 2023
The Courts Service welcomes the recent announcement by The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, and Minister of State for Disability, Anne Rabbitte, setting the 26 April 2023 as the commencement date for the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act (ADMC) 2015.
The ADMC Act provides for a new legal framework to support persons who may have difficulties with their capacity to make certain decisions.
The Courts Service have been working over the past 2 years with members of the judiciary, the Decision Support Service, the HSE, the Law Society and with NGOs, to plan for the successful implementation of the Act and this new framework. This work has included coordinating systems and processes, as well as providing extensive information to the relevant users and their families. The Courts Service has invested in a new ICT system as well as in training for staff on how to handle the new applications. In addition, new court rules will be developed in the coming weeks to set out the procedures for applications.
Applications can be brought to the Circuit Court where the Relevant Person:
(a) is residing at the time the application is made
(b) is carrying on business at the time the application is made, or
(c) has resided at any time within the period of three years immediately prior to the making of the application.
A list of all Circuit Courts is available at the courts website.
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.
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. Every adult is presumed to have capacity unless the contrary is shown in accordance with the Act. 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.