Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act Passed by Oireachtas

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act has just been passed by the Oireachtas.

This Act applies to everyone and has relevance for all health and social care services.  All Health and Social Care professionals should familiarise themselves with it and the following key points have been drafted as a brief guide.

The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act:

  • Applies to everyone and to all health and social care settings.
  • Provides for the individual’s right of autonomy and self-determination to be respected through an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Advance Healthcare Directive – made when a person has capacity to come into effect when they may lack decision-making capacity.
  • Provides for legally recognised decision-makers to support a person maximise their decision making powers.
  • Places a legal requirement on service providers to comprehensively enable a person make a decision through the provision of a range of supports and information appropriate to their condition.
  • Abolishes the Wards of Court system. 
  • Provides for a review of all existing wards to either discharge them fully or to transition those who still need assistance to the new structure.
  • Repeals the Lunacy regulations governing the Ward of Court system.
  • Establishes a Decision Support Service with clearly defined functions which will include the promotion of public awareness relating to the exercise of capacity by persons who may require assistance in exercising their capacity. 

The Director of the Decision Support Service will have the power to investigate complaints in relation to any action by a decision-maker in relation to their functions as such decision-maker.

The HSE Quality Improvement Division has organised a national conference to create awareness of the Act, its implications, challenges and opportunities for health and social care professionals.

The Conference is aimed at clinicians, managers and staff who are involved in planning, managing or delivering services to patients, service users or clients across health and social care settings. This conference brings together key Irish and UK experts to inform clinicians, staff and managers about the legislation and to explore the impact this Act will have on current practice.

The conference will take place on Monday 22nd February in the Hogan Suite, Croke Park, Dublin from 10.00 a.m.- 4.00 p.m.

Speakers will include:

Ms. Patricia Rickard-Clarke, Solicitor and former Law Reform Commissioner

Dr. Siobhán O’Sullivan, Chief Bioethics Officer, Department of Health

The Hon. Mr. Justice Baker,  Judge of the High Court of Justice (Family Division) England and Wales.


There is no attendance fee for this conference. Places are limited so booking in essential.

For queries and conference booking please contact:

Orla O'Reilly, Quality Improvement Division at 045-880457 or email at

Conference details can be downloaded here.  Further resources will be added to this website over time.
Further details on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act are available here.