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Wards of Court Update

The eagerly awaited commencement of the Assisted Decision-Making (ADM) legislation has been delayed to allow for amending legislation to be passed. This has given rise to uncertainty among healthcare and social care professionals as to the current provisions for potential Wards of Court cases. We review the current position.

Assisted Decision-Making Legislation

In our last update, we outlined the provisions of the amending legislation which essentially relate to efficacy, efficiency and safeguarding. The Assisted Decision-Making (Amendment) Bill 2022 is currently before the Seanad, at Second Stage.

The Director of the Decision Support Service, Áine Flynn, has prepared a short video to potential future service users, which provides clear and concise information in relation to the delay.

Wardship applications

In anticipation of the commencement of the Act, the Office of the Wards of Court stopped accepting wardship applications from 22 April 2022. However, as of May 2022, the Office is again accepting wardship applications. It is indicated that transitional arrangements for wardship applications which have yet to be determined at the time of commencement will be provided for in the amending legislation.


Although it is difficult to predict an exact timeframe, it seems likely that the High Court’s jurisdiction to accept new wardship applications may be drawing to a close. The lack of certainty around when the ADM legislation will commence means that in some cases, a wardship application and / or interim wardship orders may be the only way to safeguard vulnerable persons in certain situations. It is more important than ever to ensure that medical reporting is in line with the relevant practice direction.

For all your wardship and related healthcare queries, please contact a member of our Health & Prosecutions team.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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