Adjusting our lenses : the right to equal legal capacity for people with disabilities
Will the realisation of equal legal capacity in practice lead to greater participation and empowerment of people with disabilities in exercising decision-making about their lives? This thesis addresses the implementation and practice of supported decision-making according to Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, and identifies factors that might help in the establishment of this new system of Legal Capacity support. The legal framework of the UN CRPD Article 12: Equal recognition before the law and the general comment on Article 12 are presented, illustrating the legal obligation on States in the implementation of systems to realise this right, with particular reference to the right to support when exercising legal capacity. Changes in national legislation are underway in some countries to bring systems of supported decision making into being and participation of persons with disabilities and human rights advocates have played key roles in influencing the development of legislation. Supported decision-making arrangements in place in a selected number of countries are analysed to identify current applications of supports in exercising legal capacity with a specific focus on persons with intellectual disability. The right to supports that are effective to enable people with disability to exercise their right to decision making about their lives will be important along with awareness raising amongst all people, in the evolution of systems of supported decision-making and the legal framework surrounding them. The conclusions from the thesis aim to inform this transitional journey.