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The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) establishes a new paradigm of supported decision-making, rather than guardianship or substituted decision-making, for people with intellectual disability (ID). Article 12 of the CRPD guarantees every person’s right to legal capacity—to make her/his own decisions and have those decisions legally recognized—and specifically requires governments to provide people with ID the supports they may need to exercise legal capacity. The Article describes the human rights regime and explores different forms of supported decision-making and legislative efforts to abolish guardianship. It calls for a paradigm shift in how we view people with ID, from inquiry into what a person cannot do, to supports necessary to enable her/him to make her/his own decisions, and the legal efforts necessary to ensure that such decisions are recognized by third parties including financial institutions, healthcare providers, and government agencies.

Keywords: CRPD, legal capacity, human rights, paradigm shift


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Kristin Booth Glen, Supported Decision-Making and the Human Right of Legal Capacity (2015).pdfDownload 

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