The CRPD adopts a new approach to legal capacity that makes it possible for people with disabilities to exercise their human right to legal capacity, including the capacity to act, equally with other individuals.  Support to exercise legal capacity, or supported decision-making, is based on the premise that every person has a will, and every person communicates.  Supporters do not make decisions for the person, but instead they help the person to make his or her own decisions, and to communicate and act on those decisions.

People with disabilities have the right to exercise legal capacity in all areas of life, for example:

  • Financial matters, such as employment, buying or renting a home, starting a business, opening a bank account, owning and inheriting property. 
  • Health care decisions, such as diagnostic testing, taking medication, having surgery. 
  • Access to justice, such as filing a complaint in court or testifying as a witness.
  • Family relations, such as marriage and parenting responsibilities.
  • Political participation, such as voting and standing for election. 

Article 12 requires States Parties to recognize that persons with disabilities enjoy legal capacity, including the capacity to act, on an equal basis with others; to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they might require in exercising legal capacity; and to establish appropriate and effective safeguards against the abuse of such support.  


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