Skip to main content
  • 3656 Accesses

Abstract

The recognition of legal capacity in Article 12 lies at the core of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and is key to the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. The importance of self-direction is at the core of Article 12 with a clear move away from substitute decision-making to a requirement for support for the person with disabilities to make decisions and realise his/her will and preferences. This central position is warranted, as it reflects the urgent need for reform of laws affecting millions of people denied control over their own decision-making, often in a continuous cycle of disempowerment. Consequently, many other fundamental rights, including the right to informed consent, essential for physical and mental integrity, are impacted, narrowing the scope of personal autonomy and of interdependent living. This is particularly evident in relation to the coercive impact of mental health laws when rights to informed consent to treatment are limited or non-existent. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) considers the right to legal capacity as ‘at least equally important’ as the right to liberty, yet liberty has traditionally received much greater emphasis. The growing awareness of the negative impact of widespread denial of legal capacity resulting in serious intrusions on personal integrity has led to an increasing number of cases being litigated before the ECtHR and referenced in domestic level courts. The CRPD Committee has repeatedly said that States Parties must take action to replace systems of substitute decision-making with supported decision-making that respects the will and preference of the person.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 169.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 219.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 299.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Notes

  1. 1.

    Article 26 available at www.europarl.europa.eu/charter/pdf/text_en.pd.

  2. 2.

    ECtHR, Glor v Switzerland App. No. 13444/04, 30 April 2009; Kiss v Hungary App No. 38832/06, 20 May 2010; Kiyutin v Russia App. No. 2700/10, 10 March 2011; Stanev v Bulgaria App. No. 36760/06, 17 January 2012; DD v Lithuania App. No. 13469/06, 14 February 2012; MH v United Kingdom App. No. 11577/06, 22 October 2013.

  3. 3.

    ECtHR, Kiss v Hungary, cit.; Kiyutin v Russia, cit.; Stanev v Bulgaria cit., in which the majority failed to examine the core legal capacity issue; DD v Lithuania, cit.; Campeanu v Romania App. No. 47848/08, 14 July 2014; Ivinovic v Croatia App. No. 13006/13, 18 September 2014.

  4. 4.

    ECtHR, Glor v Switzerland (n 2). The recognition of disability as included in ‘other status’ in Article 14 was significant, indicating an expansion of the law on reasonable accommodation. Despite Switzerland not having signed the CRPD, it was referenced for the first time indicating the emerging consensus.

  5. 5.

    ECtHR, Shtukaturov v Russia, App. No. 44009/05, 27 March 2008; Stanev v Bulgaria, cit.; DD v Lithuania, cit.

  6. 6.

    Clifford (2011).

  7. 7.

    Ireland (High Court of), MX (APUM) v HSE [2012] IEHC 491; UK Upper Tribunal, AH v West London Mental Health Trust & Secretary of State for Justice [2011] UKUT 74 (AAC).

  8. 8.

    Lawson (2012), p. 16.

  9. 9.

    Lawson (2012).

  10. 10.

    Lawson (2012).

  11. 11.

    Article 4, para. 1 (b) and (e).

  12. 12.

    Quinlivan (2012).

  13. 13.

    Quinn (2010).

  14. 14.

    ECtHR, Shtukaturov v Russia, cit., para. 71.

  15. 15.

    Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) available at www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw.

  16. 16.

    Dhanda (2012), p. 180.

  17. 17.

    Dhanda (2007), Kampf (2010).

  18. 18.

    Ad Hoc Committee, Daily Summaries of the 5th Session, 25 January 2005. Available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/ahc5reports.htm.

  19. 19.

    Dhanda (2012), p. 181.

  20. 20.

    CRPD Committee, General Comment No. 1 (2014), CRPD/C/GC/1, para. 13.

  21. 21.

    CRPD, Committee, Concluding Observations Croatia, CRPD/C/HRV/CO/1.

  22. 22.

    CRPD Committee, General Comment No. 1, cit., para. 3.

  23. 23.

    Ibid., para. 28.

  24. 24.

    Bach and Kerzner (2010), p. 7.

  25. 25.

    EU FRA (2012).

  26. 26.

    EU FRA (2012), paras. 50–71.

  27. 27.

    CoE, Commissioner for Human Rights (2012), p. 7.

  28. 28.

    CRPD Committee, General Comment No. 1 (2014), cit., para. 13.

  29. 29.

    Ibid., para. 13.

  30. 30.

    Emmett et al. (2013).

  31. 31.

    Williams et al. (2012), Emmett et al. (2013).

  32. 32.

    Law Commission Victoria (2011); O’Mahony (2012), p. 893.

  33. 33.

    ECtHR, Shtukaturov v Russia, cit.; Stanev v Bulgaria, cit.; DD v Lithuania, cit.

  34. 34.

    Lewis (2011).

  35. 35.

    Gombos and Dhanda (2009).

  36. 36.

    Dinerstein (2012).

  37. 37.

    Bach and Kerzner (2010), p. 74; Gooding (2013).

  38. 38.

    Davidson et al. (1999).

  39. 39.

    Morrissey (2012), p. 436.

  40. 40.

    Nillson (2014), p. 21.

  41. 41.

    Minkowitz (2010), p. 158.

  42. 42.

    Minkowitz (2010).

  43. 43.

    http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRPD/C/2/3&Lang=en. Accessed 10 June 2015.

  44. 44.

    CRPD Committee, General Comment No. 1, cit.

  45. 45.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations Croatia, cit.

  46. 46.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations Sweden, CRPD/C/SWE/CO/1.

  47. 47.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations New Zealand, CRPD/C/NZL/CO/1.

  48. 48.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations Germany, CRPD/C/DEU//CO/1.

  49. 49.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations Croatia, cit.

  50. 50.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations Cook Islands, CRPD/C/COK/CO/1.

  51. 51.

    Mc Sherry and Wilson (2015).

  52. 52.

    Dhanda (2012), p. 187.

  53. 53.

    Dhanda (2012), p. 187.

  54. 54.

    Victoria Law Reform Commission (2011).

  55. 55.

    The Irish Mental Health Act 2001 has a broad definition of ‘voluntary’ patient with no safeguards or support for persons who have difficulty in making decisions.

  56. 56.

    Brosnan (2012).

  57. 57.

    ECtHR, Bensaid v United Kingdom, Appl. No. 44599/98, 6 February 2001.

  58. 58.

    ECtHR, Stanev v Bulgaria, cit.

  59. 59.

    ECtHR, Drobnjak v Serbia App. No. 36500/05, 13 October 2009; Shtukaturov v Russia, cit.

  60. 60.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations Czech Republic, CRPD/C/CZE/CO/1.

  61. 61.

    ECtHR, Kiss v Hungary, cit., para. 42.

  62. 62.

    CoE, Commissioner for Human Rights (2012).

  63. 63.

    ECtHR, Shtukaturov v Russia, cit., para. 94; Winterwerp v Netherlands App. No. 6301/73, 24 October 1979.

  64. 64.

    CRPD Committee, Concluding Observations Czech Republic, cit.

  65. 65.

    CoE, Commissioner for Human Rights (2009).

  66. 66.

    ECtHR, Stanev v Bulgaria, cit.

  67. 67.

    ECtHR, Stanev v Bulgaria, cit., partially dissenting opinion of Judge Kalayd Jieva.

  68. 68.

    Nelson (2012).

  69. 69.

    ECtHR, Shtukaturov v Russia, cit.; Mental Capacity Act 2005 of England and Wales; Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2013 of Ireland.

  70. 70.

    CRPD Committee, General Comment No. 1, cit., para. 25.

  71. 71.

    Dhanda (2012), p. 181.

  72. 72.

    CoE, Commissioner for Human Rights (2012).

  73. 73.

    Bach and Kerzner (2010), p. 83.

  74. 74.

    Bach and Kerzner (2010).

  75. 75.

    Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill, 2013. http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=24147&&CatID=59&StartDate=01%20January%202013&OrderAscending=0ity)%20Bill%202013.pdf/Files/Assisted%20Decision. Accessed 15 June 2015.

  76. 76.

    CRPD Committee, General Comment No. 1, cit., para. 3.

Table of Cases

  • ECtHR 24.10.1979, Application No. 6301/73, Winterwerp v Netherlands, (1979) 2 EHRR 387

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR06.02.2001, Application No. 44599/98, Bensaid v United Kingdom, (2001) 33 EHRR 205

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 27.06.2008, Application No. 44009/05, Shtukaturov v Russia, nyr

    Google Scholar 

  • EctHR 13.10.2009, Application No. 36500/05, Drobnjak v Serbia, IHRL 3681 (ECHR 2009)

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 30.04.2009, Application No. 13444/04, Glor v Switzerland, unreported

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 20.05.2010, Application No. 38832/06, Alajos Kiss v Hungary, [2010] MHLR 245

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 10.03.2011, Application No. 2700/10, Kiyutin v Russia, ECHR 2011

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 14.02.2012, Application No. 13469/06, DD v Lithuania, [2012] ECHR 254

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 12.01.2012, Application No. 36760/06, Stanev v Bulgaria, (2012) 55 EHRR 22

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 22.10.2013, Application No. 11577/06, MH v United Kingdom, (2013) ECHR 1008

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 14.07.2014, Application No. 47848/08, Campeanu v Romania, (2014) ECHR 789

    Google Scholar 

  • ECtHR 18.09.2014, Application No. 13006/13, Ivinovic v Croatia, (2014) ECHR 918

    Google Scholar 

  • Ireland (High Court of) 23.11.2012, MX (APUM) v HSE, [2012] IEHC 491

    Google Scholar 

  • UK Upper Tribunal 17.02.2011, AH v West London Mental Health Trust & Secretary of State for Justice, [2011] UKUT 74 (AAC)

    Google Scholar 

References

  • Bach M, Kerzner L (2010) A new paradigm for protecting autonomy and the right to legal capacity. Law Commission of Ontario. http://www.lco-cdo.org/disabilities/bach-kerzner.pdf. Accessed 8 Apr 2015

  • Brosnan L (2012) Power and participation: an examination of the dynamics of mental health service-user involvement in Ireland. Stud Soc Just 6(1):45–66

    Google Scholar 

  • Clifford J (2011) The UN Disability Convention and its impact on European equality law. Equal Rights Rev 6:11–24

    Google Scholar 

  • Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights, Hammarberg T (2009) Persons with mental disabilities should be assisted but not deprived of their individual human rights. Council of Europe, Viewpoint, 21/09 2009. www.coe.int/t/commissioner/viewpoints/090921. Accessed 8 Apr 2015

  • Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights, Hammarberg T (2012) Who gets to decide? Right to legal capacity for persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. CommDH/Issue Paper (2012) 2

    Google Scholar 

  • Davidson L, Chinman M, Sells D (1999) Peer support among individuals with severe mental illness: a review of the evidence. Clin Psychol Sci Pract 6(2):165–187

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dhanda A (2007) Legal capacity in the disability rights Convention: stranglehold of the past or lodestar for the future? Syracuse J Int’l L & Com 34(2):429–462

    Google Scholar 

  • Dhanda A (2012) Universal legal capacity as a universal human right. In: Dudley M, Silove D, Gale F (eds) Mental health and human rights, vision: praxis, and courage. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Dinerstein R (2012) Implementing legal capacity under Article 12 of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: the difficult road from guardianship to supported decision-making. Hum Rights Brief 19(2):8–12

    Google Scholar 

  • Emmett C, Poole M, Bond J, Hughes J (2013) Homeward bound or bound for a home? Assessing the capacity of dementia patients to make decisions about hospital discharge. Comparing practice with legal standards. Int J Law Psychiatry 36(1):73–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights FRA (2012) Legal capacity of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, pp 50–71

    Google Scholar 

  • Gombos G, Dhanda A (2009) Catalysing self advocacy: an experiment in India. http://www.librarything.com/work/15052838

  • Gooding P (2013) Supported decision-making: a rights-based disability concept and its implications for mental health law. Psychiatry Psychol Law 20(3):431–451

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kampf A (2010) Involuntary treatment decisions: using negotiated silence to facilitate change? In: McSherry B, Weller P (eds) Rethinking rights-based mental health laws. Hart Publishing, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Lawson A (2012) Disability equality, reasonable accommodation and the avoidance of ill-treatment in places of detention: the role of supranational monitoring and inspection bodies. Int Journ Hum Rights 16(6):845, 864

    Google Scholar 

  • Lewis O (2011) Advancing legal capacity jurisprudence. Eur Hum Rights Law Rev 6:700–714

    Google Scholar 

  • Mc Sherry B, Wilson K (2015) The concept of capacity in Australian mental health law reform: going in the wrong direction? Int Journ Law Psychiat 40:60–69

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Minkowitz T (2010) Abolishing mental health laws to comply with the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. In: McSherry B, Weller P (eds) Rethinking rights based mental health laws. Hart Publishing, Oxford, pp 151–177

    Google Scholar 

  • Morrissey F (2012) The United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: a new approach to decision-making in mental health law. Eur Journ Health Law 19:423–440

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nelson L (2012) Stanev v. Bulgaria: the Grand Chamber’s cautionary approach to expanding protection of the rights of persons with psycho-social disabilities. http://strasbourgobservers.com/2012/02/29/stanev-v-bulgaria-the-grand-chambers-cautionary-approach-to-expanding-protection-of-the-rights-of-persons-with-psycho-social-disabilities/. Accessed 4 May 2015

  • Nillson A (2014) Objective and reasonable? Scrutinising compulsory mental health interventions from a non-discrimination perspective. Hum Rights Law Rev 14(3):459–485

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • O’Mahony C (2012) Legal capacity and detention: implications of the UN disability convention for inspection standards of human rights monitoring bodies. Int Journ Hum Rights 16(6):883–901

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Quinlivan S (2012) The United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: an introduction. ERA Forum. doi:10.1007/s12027-012-0252-1

  • Quinn G (2010) Personhood & legal capacity perspectives on the paradigm shift of Article 12 CRPD. In: Legal capacity conference, Harvard Law School, 20 February 2010. www.nuigalway.ie/cdlp/staff/gerard_quinn.html. Accessed 4 May 2015

  • Victoria Law Reform Commission (2011) Consultation paper: guardianship. CP 10

    Google Scholar 

  • Williams V, Boyle G, Jepson M, Swift P, Williamson T, Heslop P (2012) Making best interests decisions: people and processes. http://mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/best_interests_report_FINAL1.pdf. Accessed 12 Feb 2014

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mary Keys .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Keys, M. (2017). Article 12 [Equal Recognition Before the Law]. In: Della Fina, V., Cera, R., Palmisano, G. (eds) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43790-3_16

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43790-3_16

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-43788-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-43790-3

  • eBook Packages: Law and CriminologyLaw and Criminology (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics