Time for a Viennese whirl?

In the summer, I flagged up that Austria on 10 July had signed up to the Hague Convention XXXV of 13 January 2000 on the International Protection of Adults, which had then been ratified by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Scotland and Switzerland.

Last month, less than three after signing, Austria ratified Convention XXXV. It will not, however, come into force there until 1 February 2014.

In Ireland, the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill no 83, which will bring Irish capacity law into the 21st Century is making good progress and is likely to come into force during 2014.

This will enable ratification of Convention XXXV which may come into force in Ireland in 2015. Sch.3 to the 2013 Bill sets out Convention XXXV in a similar manner to Sch.3 of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 in Scotland and Sch.3 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in South Britain.

Many of us think that it extraordinary that although the 2005 Act has been in force in England & Wales since 2007 and that Convention XXXV has been in force since 1 January 2009, the UK still has not got round to ratifying for England and Wales.

The practical difficulties between Scotland and South Britain, involving capacity issues are growing. The acceptance and enforcement of lasting or continuing powers of attorney either side of the border, cause real problems. The UK Ministry of Justice should be ashamed and embarrassed that the law in England & Wales is still half cooked.

Dublin, Edinburgh and Vienna are definitely ahead of London in this particular bake off.

Richard Frimston TEPChair of STEP EU Committee and Co-Chair of the STEP Public Policy Committee

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