Recommendations and influence of Law Reform Agencies on supported decision-making

Prof. Christine Bigby1, Emeritus Professor Terry Carney2, Dr  Shih-Ning Then3, Prof Jacinta Douglas1

1La Trobe University, Living With Disability Research Centre, Bundoora, Australia, 2The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 3Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Article 12 of the UNCRPD places an obligation on member states to ‘provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity’. Law reform agencies in various countries have recommended that laws be changed to allow for forms of supported decision-making to be legally recognised.

This paper identifies the contribution of Law Reform Agencies reports and recommendations to the evolving body of knowledge in relation to supported decision-making. It analyses the rationales for recommendations favouring the introduction of forms of legally recognised supported decision-making and the types of legal models of supported decision-making being recommended by Law Reform Agencies.

To date, translation of this concept into law has been limited. However, Law Reform Agencies, tasked with reviewing legal decision-making schemes are increasingly recommending incorporation of legally recognised supported decision-making measures.

The rationales in Law Reform Agency reports provide an understanding of the pros and cons of supported decision making schemes and balance between safeguard and rights.


Professor Christine Bigby is Director of the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe University. She has won the ASID Research prize three times since 1993. She has published 6 book, 35 book chapters, over 135 journal articles and numerous research reports.  She is editor of the Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

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