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LIV capacity guidelines launched

LIV capacity guidelines launched

By Law Institute Journal


In December 2016, then LIV president Steven Sapountsis launched the LIV Capacity Guidelines and Toolkit, a comprehensive resource for practitioners about what to do when a client’s capacity is in doubt. Initially launched in 2015, following the introduction of the Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic), the Guidelines were revised in 2016 to highlight the changes brought about by this Act, which introduced a statutory test for capacity in Victoria and reflected a social paradigmatic shift towards supportive decision-making. Victoria is currently one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the world to have a scheme for supportive attorneys. Mr Sapountsis emphasised some of the fundamental aspects of decision-making capacity, before introducing a panel of experts, including keynote speaker, deputy president of VCAT, Genevieve Nihill, who spoke of the impetus for change, most notably, growing recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities to equality before the law. Victoria’s Public Advocate Colleen Pearce and Dr Ian Freckelton QC then highlighted some of the difficulties in assessing capacity in a practical context and provided practitioners with critical guidance about what to do when a client’s capacity is in doubt. The LIV notes the Guidelines are the product of many hours of voluntary work by its committee members, whose time, commitment and expertise were invaluable in producing this resource. A Concise Edition of the Guidelines is available to members on the LIV website. The full version of the Guidelines is available for purchase – online or in Law Books – for $35. Practitioners should also note that provisions of the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016 (Vic), which will, among other things, repeal the Medical Treatment Act 1988 (Vic), have not been incorporated into these Guidelines, but will be included after the Act comes into effect in March 2018.

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