Skip Navigation
Ireland

Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons (IE0034)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ireland National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Justice and Equality

Support Institution(s): Department of Health, Decision Support Service

Policy Areas

Judiciary, Justice, Legislation & Regulation, Marginalized Communities, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ireland End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Ireland Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment Text:
Introduce a new statutory framework to assist vulnerable persons and individuals
with decision-making capacity difficulties to exercise their legal capacity. The new
framework will replace the outdated "Wards of Court" system and establish a modern
statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with capacity difficulties.
The aim is to safeguard the person’s autonomy to the greatest extent possible by
offering a continuum of decision support options most appropriate to the person's
needs.
Milestone
3B. Introduce a new framework to assist vulnerable persons and individuals with
limited decision-making capacity
Responsible institution: Department of Justice and Equality
Supporting institution: Department of Health, Decision Support Service
Start date: January 2017
End date: June 2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3B. Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons

Commitment Text:

Introduce a new statutory framework to assist vulnerable persons and individuals with decision-making capacity difficulties to exercise their legal capacity. The new framework will replace the outdated 'Wards of Court' system and establish a modern statutory framework to support decision-making by adults with capacity difficulties. The aim is to safeguard the person’s autonomy to the greatest extent possible by offering a continuum of decision support options most appropriate to the person's needs.

Milestone

3B. Introduce a new framework to assist vulnerable persons and individuals with limited decision-making capacity

Responsible institution: Department of Justice and Equality

Supporting institution: Department of Health, Decision Support Service

Start date: January 2017

End date: June 2018

Editorial Note: For the remainder of this commitment text, please see Commitment 3A.

Context and Objectives

Under the present system there is a weak statutory framework to support decision making by adults with capacity difficulties. In this regard, regulations needed to be put in place to safeguard the person’s independence and autonomy, as a function of their most appropriate needs. The main objective of the new proposals, as stated the Irish Times, is that

…adults will no longer be able to be made wards of court and instead a decision-making assistant, a co-decision- maker or an attorney will be appointed based on the capacity of the person. The legislation will allow for the court to intervene when it rules a person lacks the capacity to make decisions. The courts will have the power to appoint a decision-making representative to help the person. Under the current legislation wards are denied the possibility of making decisions on fundamental matters including getting married.[Note: Sarah Bardon, ‘Proposed law would end adult wards of court,’ Irish Times, 10 June 2015, https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/proposed-law-would-end-adult-wards-of-court-1.2243417. ]

While granting access to decision making and self-determination support options for those with capacity difficulties is laudable, the commitment as written is not relevant to OGP values because it focuses on enhancing autonomy rather than participation or accountability. The specificity is low because the text does not clearly indicate what the ‘new framework’ will include and how the implementation of this framework will take place. The potential impact is minor. While it may potentially change the status quo, and assist an important part of the population with limited decision-making capacity, its lack of specificity means that it is hard to see how it will change business as usual in a transformative way.

Completion

The milestone’s implementation has not started, but is on schedule. This assessment is based on the evidence raised in the government’s progress report on this milestone and interviews with government officials conducted by the IRM researcher’s team. From the progress report, it became clear that while the legislation known as the Assisted Decision-Making Act 2015 provides a framework to support decision making by adults with capacity difficulties, this milestone has as its main goals to ensure its full implementation regarding the decision-making support options provided in the Act. Based on interviews with officials in the Department of Justice and Equality,[Note: Interview held December 2017.] the IRM researcher learned that the Assisted Decision-Making Act 2015 is a joint legislation between the Department of Health and the Department of Justice and Equality, with the former leading the implementation of this new framework. Very little progress has been made in the first year of the action plan, although in October 2017 the new director of the Decision Support Service, which is a new part of the Mental Health Commission, was appointed.[Note: ‘Dublin solicitor appointed inaugural director of the Decision Support Service,’ Irish Legal News, 4 October 2017, http://www.irishlegal.com/8798/dublin-solicitor-appointed-inaugural-director-of-the-decision-support-service/#. ] This director will implement this commitment over the second year of the action plan, with significant progress expected in early 2018 during the second year of the plan. There has been no civil society involvement in the implementation of this milestone.

Next Steps

If fully implemented during the second year of the action plan, this milestone does not need to be carried forward into the next action plan.

IRM End of Term Status Summary


Ireland's Commitments

  1. Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development

    IE0031, 2016, Environment and Climate

  2. Support Public Participation Networks

    IE0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Improve Access to Justice: Reducing Costs

    IE0033, 2016, Judiciary

  4. Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons

    IE0034, 2016, Judiciary

  5. Improve Access to Justice: Oversight of Legal Practitioners

    IE0035, 2016, Justice

  6. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: General

    IE0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: Youth

    IE0037, 2016, Marginalized Communities

  8. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Improve Access to Government Services Through Technology

    IE0039, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Participatory Budgeting

    IE0040, 2016, Participation in Budget Processes

  11. Improve Transparency of Government Service Providers

    IE0041, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  12. Enhance Fiscal Transparency

    IE0042, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  13. Introduce Modern Document Management Procedures

    IE0043, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  14. Develop an Open Data Strategy 2017-2020

    IE0044, 2016, E-Government

  15. Invest in Data Infrastructure That Will Result in Better Open Data

    IE0045, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Starred commitment Develop a Code of Practice for the Governance of Charities

    IE0046, 2016,

  17. Starred commitment Public Sector Standards Bill

    IE0047, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  18. Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership

    IE0048, 2016, Asset Disclosure

  19. Establishment of Best Practice Standards for Open Data

    IE0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Establishment of Ireland’S Open Data Platform

    IE0002, 2014, E-Government

  21. Undertake an Audit of Key Datasets for Publication

    IE0003, 2014, Open Data

  22. Establish a Roadmap for the Open Data and an Evaluation Framework to Provide Assessment of the Ongoing Open Data

    IE0004, 2014, Open Data

  23. Establishment of an Open Data Ireland Governance Board (ODIGB) and Steering and Implementation Group (SIG) for Open Data Ireland

    IE0005, 2014, Open Data

  24. Signing up to the G8 Open Data Charter

    IE0006, 2014, Open Data

  25. Implementing Open Data

    IE0007, 2014, Open Data

  26. Improve Computer Literacy Through Implementation of Proposed New Digital Strategy for Schools

    IE0008, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Review National and International Practice to Develop Revised Principles / Code for Public Engagement/Consultation with Citizens, Civil Society and Others by Public Bodies.

    IE0009, 2014, Public Participation

  28. Starred commitment Hold Referenda Arising from the Recommendations of the Constitutional Convention

    IE0010, 2014, Gender

  29. Starred commitment Ethics Reform

    IE0011, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  30. Strengthening Freedom of Information - Implement the Code of Practice for Freedom of Information (FOI).

    IE0012, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  31. Reform of FOI

    IE0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  32. Starred commitment Regulation of Lobbying

    IE0014, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  33. Starred commitment Encourage, Protect and Raise Awareness of Whistleblower Duties and Protections

    IE0015, 2014, Whistleblower Protections

  34. Measures to Increase Citizen Participation in Decision Making on Policy and Legislative Proposals. Systemic Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of Draft Bills

    IE0016, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  35. Develop and Deliver Access to Environmental Information (AIE) Training Module for Public Officials

    IE0017, 2014, Capacity Building

  36. Increase Citizen Participation at Local Level. Pilot Approach to Implementation of Public Participation Networks

    IE0018, 2014, Private Sector

  37. Provide Legal Base for Public Participation Framework in Local Government

    IE0019, 2014, Capacity Building

  38. Undertake a Feasibility Study on Possible Means of Enabling Further Citizen Engagement in Local Authority Budgetary Processes

    IE0020, 2014, Participation in Budget Processes

  39. Support Children and Young People as Citizens. Develop, Finalise and Publish the First Government Strategy on Children and Young People's Participation in Decision-Making.

    IE0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  40. Maximise Participation and Understanding of Young People in Civic Life

    IE0022, 2014, Capacity Building

  41. Development of an ICT Strategy

    IE0023, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  42. Data Sharing and Governance Bill

    IE0024, 2014, E-Government

  43. Public Services Card

    IE0025, 2014, E-Government

  44. Single Customer View

    IE0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Local Government Portal

    IE0027, 2014, E-Government

  46. New Local Enterprise Offices

    IE0028, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  47. Review and Enhancement of Complaints Procedures and Using Feedback to Improve Services Across the Public Service; a Review of Citizen Complaints Procedures Will Be Undertaken.

    IE0029, 2014, Public Participation

  48. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0030, 2014, Public Participation