• Policy Papers

Legal Capacity and Supported Decision-Making

This position paper raises awareness on the right to legal capacity and is based on the know-how and expertise of EASPD's membership.

In March 2021 the European Commission launched the European Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, outlining different initiatives to undertake over the years to come. The Strategy recognises that “(…) Legal barriers exist in particular for persons with intellectual disabilities, psychosocial disabilities or with mental health problems as they are often restricted in or deprived of their legal capacity.” In the years to come, the European Commission aims to collect good practices on supported decision-making.

Legal capacity - the right to make decisions and being recognised equally before the law - is a critical aspect in this regard, as it affects the recognition of a person’s ability to make decisions and exercise choice and control over their life. This is why EASPD and its members have been committed for years to promoting the recognition of the right to legal capacity for all people with disabilities, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and to foster the implementation of supported decision-making, moving away from guardianship regimes and substitute decision-making approaches.

Based on the knowhow, experience and expertise of our membership, EASPD developed this paper with 3 main objectives:

  1. raise awareness on the right of persons with disabilities to legal capacity;
  2. urge States and the European Union to prioritise actions to support people to enjoy their right to legal capacity;
  3. provide guidance to service providers on how to empower and enable the people they support in enjoying this right. 

Position Paper