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 was necessary for the full commencement of the 2015 Act and to streamline processes and improve safeguards.

What does the Act do?

The 2015 Act brings about important changes for people who may require support to make decisions. These decisions can be about their personal welfare, health, social care, and their property and affairs.

The Act abolishes the current wardship system and requires all adult wards of court to be discharged from wardship within three years of commencement of the Act. It introduces a tiered system of decision support arrangements for people who need help with making decisions.

The Act presumes that every adult has the capacity to make decisions, unless determined otherwise. It introduces new guiding principles about interacting with a person who has difficulties with their decision-making capacity and establishes the Decision Support Service (DSS).

The Act provides for:

  • individual’s right of autonomy and self-determination to be respected
  • a human rights compliant legal framework for decision making where a person lacks capacity and for advance healthcare directives
  • legal clarity as to who can make legally compliant decisions for a person who lacks capacity
  • legally recognised decision-makers to support a person to maximise their decision-making powers
  • improved oversight of Enduring Powers of Attorney process