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European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) - REPORT on the Legal capacity of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has published a report which underlines how legal incapacity can prevent people with disabilities from exercising choice and control over their lives, despite the promise of current international standards.

The report analyses current international and European legal standards and compares European Union (EU) Member States’ laws in the area of legal capacity for people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental health problems. It reveals how in many Member States legal capacity can be restricted or removed under certain conditions. But it also shows that ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is driving rapid and significant change.



Evidence from FRA fieldwork contained in the report highlights the obstacles many people with disabilities face in securing equal enjoyment of their fundamental rights, by drawing on the experiences of interviewees who have had their legal capacity removed or restricted.


As ways forward, the report suggests:

•             reforms to replace decision making by others on behalf of people with disabilities with decision making by people with disabilities guided by others; this will respect the autonomy, will and preferences of people with disabilities.

•             support for people with disabilities who may need assistance with taking decisions.

•             conforming legal capacity laws and policies with the CRPD


The legal capacity report is available on the FRA website in English, French and German and as an easy read publication. There is also an accompanying factsheet available in all official EU languages. It draws from FRA research on the fundamental rights of people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental health problems.

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For questions related to the Year, contact

The team of the Year 2014

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