NUI Galway and Amnesty International Join Forces for Seminar on Legal Capacity

Monday, 26 March 2012

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Amnesty International Ireland will jointly host a seminar exploring how Ireland can learn from other jurisdictions on legislating for legal capacity, the law that governs decision-making. The seminar will take place on Tuesday, 3 April, from 10.30am to 2pm in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin 2.

Looking Globally, Legislating Locally: The Irish Legal Capacity Bill will examine practical and technical legislative solutions to ensure that Ireland can comply with its obligations under international human rights law, most specifically Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “The new capacity law must be in line with the latest international human rights standards so the Irish Government can fully adopt the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The emphasis must be on respecting the persons’ will and preferences and supporting him/her where necessary. The Convention is clear on what capacity law should primarily look like – we need to focus on law and policy that supports people to make their own choices and decisions insofar as possible. Crucially, handling decision-making deficits should be part of an overall and more positive approach of enabling voice to be expressed and respecting that voice.”

Speakers at the seminar will include: Lana Kerzner, Canadian lawyer who specialises in disability law and policy, will deliver a lecture on The Canadian perspective on legal capacity law and supported-decision making; Anna Nilsson, European expert on legal capacity, will present a lecture entitled ‘Supported decision-making and the Swedish Personal Ombudsman System’; and Genevra Richardson, Professor of Law Kings College London, will speak on Reflections on legal capacity law in England and Wales and the interface between legal capacity law and mental health law.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “We are on the cusp of making very real strides towards achieving greater disability equality in Ireland. Ireland now has the opportunity to enact progressive legislation on decision-making capacity. This seminar demonstrates we have the research and expertise to ensure the new capacity law reflects the most up-to-date human rights standards. We are urging law-makers to take this on board as they put the finishing touches to this urgently needed capacity law.”

Places for the seminar are limited so early registration is advised. Please RSVP by Friday, 30 March to mentalhealth@amnesty.ie or 01 8638313.

-ENDS-

Author: Marketing and Communications Office, NUI Galway
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