Status of Legislation

What is the current status with the legislation?

Although the legislation was enacted on December 17, 2015, and is registered in the Statute Book (the Laws of Ireland), it has not yet been commenced. This means that the Lunacy Regulations (Ireland) Act (1871) is still applicable and in use in Ireland. However, it is recommended that the guiding principles as set out in the legislation are used along with existing case law and other national guidelines/policies (such as the HSE National Consent Policy, 2013) to guide practice in the interim to ensure that people’s rights are upheld and their wishes are acted upon.

What needs to happen for the Act to be commenced and made into law?

  • A Director of Decision Support Services needs to be appointed.
  • A code of practice needs to be developed. This will outline how the Act will be implemented.
  • The Minister for Justice has responsibility for commencing most of the Act. However, the Minister for Health is responsible for the commencement of the provision relating to advance healthcare directives.
    • The HSE has established an Assisted Decision-Making Steering Group with four working groups (guidance and documentation, information and communication, training and education and advance healthcare directives). These working groups are tasked with addressing implementation of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 for health and social care providers.
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