Human Rights and Equality Commission Granted Liberty to Appear Before Supreme Court in Wardship Case

Commission to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has been granted leave by the Supreme Court to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in a case which involves a woman in a nursing home who is a ward of court.

The Supreme Court recently granted permission to representatives of the detained women (A.C.) to appeal the case, as it involves the question of the interaction of historic legislation grounding the wardship jurisdiction of the High Court, with modern mental health legislation. The Supreme Court will consider whether the existing High Court order to make her a ward of court is valid, and whether her detention is lawful.

The case is likely to explore the nature and extent of the rights and protections to be afforded to people with mental health disabilities in Ireland. Its outcome will have an impact on voluntary patients in nursing home and hospital settings.

The Commission will contribute expertise it gained in recent landmark cases L v Clinical Director of Saint Patrick’s Hospital and Ors, which clarified the rights of voluntary patients in approved centres, and AB v Clinical Director of Saint Loman’s and Ors, which found s.15(3) of the Mental Health Act 2001 to be unconstitutional.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

“Through recent work in the Court of Appeal, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission has played a significant role in clarifying the rights of people being detained voluntarily or involuntarily under Irish law.

“This case before the Supreme Court considers the situation of vulnerable people who are wards of court and is likely to have significant implications for people whose ability to make decisions regarding their significant life choice,  including their care is in dispute.”

ENDS/

For further information, please contact:

Brian Dawson, IHREC Communications Manager,

01 8589601 / 087 0697095

bdawson@ihrec.ie

Follow us on twitter @_IHREC

Editor’s Note

As the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is now formally involved in the proceedings, we are precluded from making any further comment as the matter is before the Supreme Court.

Where written submissions are made by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to the superior Courts in amicus curiae cases they will be made available on www.ihrec.ie after the case has been heard.

The amicus curiae function of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

The Commission’s functions under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014 include that of applying for liberty to appear as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) before the superior courts in proceedings that involve, or are concerned with, the human rights or equality rights of any person.

Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is an independent public body, appointed by the President and directly accountable to the Oireachtas. The Commission has a statutory remit set out under the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act (2014) to protect and promote human rights and equality in Ireland, and build a culture of respect for human rights, equality and intercultural understanding in the State.

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is Ireland’s national human rights institution and is recognised as such by the United Nations. The Commission is also Ireland’s national equality body for the purpose of a range of EU anti-discrimination measures.

 

 

 

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