Assisted Decision-Making Capacity

Law Society of Ireland

Assisted Decision-Making Capacity

Programme overview
The purpose of this certificate is to ensure that practitioners are fully conversant with the requirements of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (the 2015 Act), with particular emphasis on supporting decision-making and a detailed analysis of the various codes and guidelines required under the 2015 Act.

This certificate is timely because the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015, which was enacted in December 2015, is due to commence later this year. It reforms outdated nineteenth century legislation based on the Lunacy Regulations (Ireland) Act 1871 and takes account of the principles contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland ratified in 2018.

The legislation replaces the outdated Wards of Court system with a modern human rights supported decision-making framework, updates the Powers of Attorney Act 1996 to include health care decisions and introduces a statutory framework for Advance Healthcare Directives. The legislation puts the presumption of capacity on a statutory basis. It moves away from the existing substituted decision-making regime to provide for supported decision making which must take account of the "will and preferences" of the person whose decision-making capacity may be in question.

The range of supports for those that need assistance, will take the form of a number of different intervention options. The type of intervention will depend on the level of support that the person needs to assist them to make a decision.

We have designed our courses to enable you to satisfy as much of your CPD requirement as possible. Time spent attending lectures and workshops in person or completing these via e-learning as part of your course can be claimed towards your annual CPD requirement. The number of hours of CPD that you may claim in relation to your diploma/certificate course will depend on the way in which you access each of the individual sessions. Please note that the limit for e-learning has been removed for the 2021 CPD cycle. For further information, visit the CPD scheme and download the CPD booklet.

The Diploma Centre team will host our annual CPD conference in November 2022. This complimentary event is a dedicated management and professional development skills and regulatory matters session. We will post an invitation on your Diploma Hub page later in the year.

Subjects taught

The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Legislative Background and Pre-Planning Options
Origins & scope the 2015 Act
The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
Definition & assessment of capacity (i.e. the functional approach)
The Guiding Principles
Proposed legislative updates to the 2015 Act
Discharge from the Wardship process

Module 2: Decision-Making and Planning in Advance
The role and functions of the Director of the Decision Support Service
Enduring Powers of Attorney
Assisted Healthcare Directives
Deprivation of Liberty safeguards

Module 3: Jurisdictional and Other Issues
Jurisdiction of the courts - exclusive jurisdiction of the Circuit Court
Exceptions to that exclusive jurisdiction and the role of the High Court
The role of solicitors in implementing the requirements of the 2015 Act
International Protection – Convention on the International Protection of Adults
Equal recognition before the Law
Minors and Capacity
External Decision Supporters

Workshops are a key feature of this course. These are designed to be interactive and involve working in groups on selected case-study problems and analysis, with an emphasis on the application of the law to common scenarios encountered in practice.

Workshop Title Date Time

Workshop 1 Saturday 3 December 2022 10.00am - 1.00pm

Workshop 2 Saturday 4 February 2023 10.00am – 1.00pm

Entry requirements

This certificate is primarily aimed at solicitors and barristers, but may also appeal to suitably qualified non-legal professionals who wish to expand their knowledge and practical implementation and application of issues relating to decision-making capacity.

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified non-members. Please explain your interest and set out any relevant experience in a cover letter and a brief CV. Such applications are subject to a supplemental fee of €100.

Application dates

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified professionals. Your application must be approved before you can formally register on the course. To apply please email the following documents to :

A completed application form

Your Curriculum Vitae

A short cover letter setting out your relevant experience

Please note, for non-members this course is subject to a supplemental fee of €100 bringing the total course fee to €1,750. No fees are required prior to approval.


Delivery Method
Live online lectures Tuesdays 6pm to 9pm, with live workshops on occasional Saturdays. Lectures also available to view on-demand.

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