Segment 3: Legal capacity

*Essential readings


*CRPD Article 12

*CRPD General Comment No. 1

*General Comment No. 1 Corrigendum (para 27)

Minkowitz, The Paradigm of Supported Decision-Making (ppt) (pdf)


Selected country initiatives:

*Peru’s reform of the Civil Code – Legislative Decree 1384 original Spanish or  English translation with commentary by Sodis plus earlier reform Law 29973

India’s law reform (enacted), Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, sections 12-15

Costa Rica’s law reform (enacted), Ley para la Promoción de Autonomía Personal  especially articles 2, 5-11, 12-15 (in Spanish)



WNUSP text proposal on legal capacity:

‘Everyone, including all persons with disabilities, has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, with full legal capacity.

‘Persons with disabilities who experience difficulty in asserting their rights, understanding information or in communicating, have the right to use assistants for the purpose of assisting them to understand information presented to them and to express their decisions, choices and preferences.’


*Two of the following:

WNUSP Advocacy Note on Legal Capacity (2pg handout)

Minkowitz, Norms and Implementation of CRPD Article 12 (short article)

IDA CRPD Forum Principles for the Implementation of CRPD Article 12



‘What is IPS [Intentional Peer Support]?’ (on IPS website)

Minkowitz, Alternative to Functional Capacity (article)

International Disability Caucus Information Note on Legal Capacity (2pg handout)

Minkowitz, CRPD and Transformative Equality

Bhargavi Davar, Legal Capacity and Civil and Political Rights for People with Psychosocial Disabilities

Hoffman and Könczei, Legal Regulations Relating to the Passive and Active Legal Capacity of Persons with Intellectual and Psychosocial Disabilities in Light of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Impending Reform of the Hungarian Civil Code (for the history of developments in legal capacity pre-CRPD)


Free and informed consent as legal capacity right:

Minkowitz, Free and informed consent and the right to refuse treatment (ppt/pdf version: MinkowitzConsent) and video (also linked in Segment #5 on Articles 19 and 25)


More resources on legal capacity and support paradigm:

The Small Places website – includes European Court of Human Rights cases; various law reform projects; NGO and academic materials

Choices – ‘platform on supported decision-making’ – explore site, read anything that interests you

ERC Voices project, storytelling about legal capacity – see in particular Events page and videos from workshops


Activity (optional):

Research the law on legal capacity in your jurisdiction, using search engine or other tools.



Fall 2017 materials:

Recording of lecture

Power point (slides) segment 3 fall 2017 rev

Spring 2017 materials:

Recording of lecture

Power point segment 3 rev and pdf segment 3 rev



1-2 page reflection paper on any of the following:

What is your relationship to legal capacity?  Is it visible or invisible in your life?  In the background or foreground?  Does it make a difference to you whether legal capacity is a right or a privilege?


Evaluate the law reform on legal capacity in India, or another of your choice.  Does the law comply with the standards under Article 12, as interpreted by General Comment No. 1?


State in your own words, as if you are explaining to someone who is not a lawyer, the key components of the right to legal capacity under General Comment No. 1.

(c) Tina Minkowitz 2017-18