National Disability Authority: “Recruitment of Research Participants: End of Wasrdship”

Do you know someone who might like to participate in research about the ending of adult wardship?

One of the changes that will stem from the commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 is the end of adult wardship. The Irish system of wardship was established by legislation that dates back more than 150 years and reflects the values of the 19th century. Persons who were made Wards of Court were deemed to be ‘of unsound mind’ and to be unable to manage their affairs. The wardship system operated on the basis that people who were made wards of court lacked ALL decision-making capacity. The system lacked a graduated framework of supports that determines capacity in respect of a specific decision at a particular time and in a particular context, concerns remedied by the 2015 Act.

The end of adult wardship is therefore a welcome and potentially transformative change, designed to give effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is likely that many of those who were previously wards of court will require some form of decision-making supports and any new decision-making arrangements will be regulated and monitored by the Decision Support Service. Those that support people to make decisions or make decisions on their behalf will be guided by their ‘will and preference’ rather than the principle of ‘best interests’, which shaped decisions made on behalf of persons who were wards of court.

The National Disability Authority is conducting research that is examining the process of ending wardship and the experiences of those leaving wardship. We are seeking to recruit adults who are wards of court or who were recently discharged from wardship. We are also seeking to recruit committees of persons who are wards of court. If you know of someone who is a ward of court or who acts as a Committee on behalf of a person who is a ward of court please tell them about our research. You can find more information about the research on our website ( ) or by contacting or calling 0876712376.



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