by Lyn McCarthy , Anita Puri March-03-2023 in Healthcare Law


Following several delays to full commencement, the commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (the “Act”) in its entirety is due to take place on 26 April, according to an announcement by the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Minister of State for Disability, this week. The announcement follows the enactment of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act 2022, which was signed into law by the President on 17 December last.

  • The 2015 Act

The 2015 Act establishes a modern legal framework to support decision-making by adults who may have difficulty making decisions without support. The Act moves away from an approach where others decide what is in a person’s ‘best interest’ and moves to a rights-based approach that considers instead the will and preference (wishes and choices) of the person. The Act introduces new guiding principles, establishes a tiered system of decision support arrangements for people who need support making decisions, abolishes the current wardship system and establishes the Decision Support Service.

  • Decision Support Service

The Act introduces the Decision Support Service (“DSS”) to facilitate the new regime. The DSS will help to protect and uphold people’s rights to make their own decisions about their personal welfare, property and affairs. Under the Act, there will be five different decision support arrangements for people who may need support to make certain decisions. The arrangements are based on different levels of support.

  • What happens on 26 April 2023?

On 26 April 2023 the 2015 Act will fully commence, meaning that all provisions under the legislation will be operative.

Accordingly,  from 26 April, there will be no new Wards of Court and a process will commence whereby all adult Wards of Court will be reviewed and discharged from wardship within three years.

Furthermore, the DSS will become operational and the new system of tiered decision-making supports will be introduced. Individuals will be able to start applying online on the DSS website to register decision support arrangements, if they wish. Once the DSS is up and running, there will also be a searchable register allowing certain people to search the register and view decision support arrangements that are in existence.

The Act will very much change how we view capacity, with a move from best interests to will and preferences, and very much placing the individual at the centre.


You can access a previous article from Hayes here on the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015.


Back to Full News