When a person has legal capacity, that means the law says they have the right to make decisions about issues that affect them like property, contracts, and jobs. They are legally allowed to do things like sign contracts for themselves, get married and vote. All adults have legal capacity by default, but in some cases the law can take away a person’s legal capacity, or say they have legal capacity in some areas but not others.
The Government has responsibilities under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to make sure all people with disability are recognised before the law as people with full legal capacity. Governments in Australia can ensure our recognition before the law by:
- removing any policy or practice that denies or lessens legal capacity
- making sure new laws recognise people with disability equally and assume our legal capacity
- putting supported decision-making into practice, to replace outdated models of substitute decision-making like guardianship
For more information, you can find a Legal Capacity Factsheet on the DPOA website.