Ngā Huarahi Whakatau

Review of Adult Decision-Making Capacity Law

Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission is reviewing how the law should respond when an adult’s decision-making is affected. We are consulting on our Preliminary Issues Paper. Submissions are due by 3 March 2023.

About the review

We are considering how the law should respond when an adult’s decision-making is affected

There are many things that can affect a person’s decision-making. These can include dementia, acquired brain injuries, learning disabilities and experiences of mental distress. 

If an adult’s decision-making is affected, the law may treat their decisions differently. This is based on a concept of ‘decision-making capacity’. If a person is assessed not to have ‘decision-making capacity’, their decision might not have legal effect. Another person might be appointed to make the decision for them.

Many people think the law in this area needs to be reviewed to make sure it works well for people with affected decision-making and for those around them.

The Minister of Justice has asked Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission to carry out a review and make recommendations to improve the law.

The full scope of our review is in our Terms of Reference.

Some things we are asking about

  • supported decision-making
  • advance directives
  • enduring powers of attorney
  • welfare guardians
  • safeguards and accountability mechanisms

Watch our video for a quick overview

This video provides an introduction to the Law Commission, this review and our current consultation. It also explains how you can have your say.

Preliminary Issues Paper

The Preliminary Issues Paper supports our first round of consultation

We want to learn about your experience with current law and practice, and what you think about the big issues and guiding principles. This Preliminary Issues Paper provides some information and asks some questions about these matters. It does not go into detail about the current law or consider every issue or area of law.

You can select the links to read the Preliminary Issues Paper or our shorter Summary document. The Summary contains information from our Preliminary Issues Paper and repeats all of our consultation questions.

The feedback we receive will help us develop options to improve the law.

You can sign up for a webinar to learn more about the Preliminary Issues Paper and the consultation.

Ngā Huarahi Whakatau-Issue Paper

Webinars

We are holding two webinars about the Preliminary Issues Paper

Each webinar will provide a short overview of this review and the consultation, answer some common questions, and provide information about how you can have your say.

The webinars will be held on:

  • Wednesday 7 December 2022 at 6:00–6:45pm
  • Friday 20 January 2023 at 12:30–1:15pm

Don’t worry if you can’t attend either of these times – we’ll post a recording here which you can access afterwards.

You can submit questions to us before the webinar, using the box on the right. You will also be able to ask us questions during the webinar through the Q&A function on Zoom. These questions will not be posted publicly to other attendees – they will be sent directly to the Law Commission team. We may not be able to answer all questions in the time available.

Our role is to make recommendations about law reform. We are unable to answer questions about personal circumstances or give legal advice.

If you need legal advice you can contact your local Community Law Centre, or your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or use the Law Society’s online Find a Lawyer service.

You can sign up for a webinar by filling in the form below.


    Have your say

    Your feedback will help us make recommendations on the law

    Make a submission online

    The online submission form contains all the questions from the Preliminary Issues Paper along with relevant information from the Summary. 

    Other ways to make a submission

    If you would like to make a submission, but none of these options are accessible to you, please get in touch with us.

    Submissions are due by 5pm on 3 March 2023.

    Additional information

    We explain at this link .
    Some people may find it emotional or distressing to make a submission. If you want to make a submission, you may want to arrange to have a support person ready to help. If you need someone to talk to, you could call or text 1737. This helpline service is free and is available 24 hours a day. You’ll get to talk or text with a trained counsellor. The service is provided by Whakarongorau Aotearoa|New Zealand Telehealth Services.

    Common questions

    Select from the common questions below to find out more about the review

    Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission is an independent state agency that provides law reform advice to the Government. 

    Our independence makes us different from many state sector agencies. The Government does not direct how we carry out our work or the recommendations we make. 

    We approach each law reform task with an open mind, undertake research and engagement, and consider the broader policy context. We then make recommendations to Government to improve the law. These recommendations are published in a report to the Minister of Justice. 

    The Minister must present our report to Parliament. The Government decides whether and how it will change the law. 

    Read more about the Law Commission 

    There has been increased recognition of the human rights of disabled people and a shift towards supporting people to make their own decisions.  

    There has also been increased recognition that the law in this area does not adequately take into account te Tiriti o Waitangi, te ao Māori or the multi-cultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand. As well, our population is changing. Aotearoa New Zealand has an increasingly aging and culturally diverse population.  

    In light of these developments, the Minister of Justice has asked Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission to carry out a review and make recommendations to improve the law.

    The scope of Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission’s review is set out in our Terms of Reference. 

    Read the Terms of Reference 

    Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission launched this review with the publication of its Terms of Reference in October 2021. 

    We are currently undertaking our first round of public consultation. Based on what we hear in this first round, we will carry out a second round of public consultation in 2023. This will be supported by a longer consultation document that will address the current law in more detail and propose some options for reform.  

    After our second round of consultation, we will prepare our final report. This will recommend to the Government how the law should be reformed in this area. We intend to provide our final report to the Minister of Justice by 30 June 2024. 

    Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission is committed to consulting the public in our review. 

    We would like to hear from you in our current consultation. You can make a submission online or through one of our other submission options. 

    We will carry out a second round of public consultation in 2023. This will be supported by a longer consultation document that will address the current law in more detail and propose some options for reform.  

    You can subscribe to receive updates on this review, including opportunities to be involved.  

    Information given to Te Aka Matua o te Ture | Law Commission is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 2020. 

    For more information about the Ombudsman and the Official Information Act, please  visit the Ombudsman’s website. For more information about the Privacy Act, please visit the Privacy Commissioner’s website. 

    If you send us a submission, we will consider it in our review and keep it as part of our official records. We may publish the submission on our website, refer to it in our publications and use it to inform our work in other reviews.  

    Your submission may contain personal information. You have the right to access and correct your personal information at any time.  

    You can request that we do not publish your name or any other identifying information in your submission. If you request this, we will not publish your name or any other information that we think might identify you or others on our website or in our publications.  

    However, if you make a submission on behalf of an organisation, we will publish the name of that organisation. 

    If we receive a request under the Official Information Act that includes your submission, we must consider releasing it. If the information requested includes your personal information, we will consult with you. 

    If you have questions about the way we manage your submission, you are welcome to contact the Law Commission’s General Manager.

    Contact us

    You can subscribe to receive updates on this review, including opportunities to be involved

    Contact us

    If you have any questions, need assistance or wish to raise an accessibility issue, please contact us:

    Ngā Huarahi Whakatau-Contact

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