Ward of Court

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The Law provides protection for persons who have either never had the ability to manage their own affairs or due to a circumstance such as an acquired brain injury, dementia, age related illnesses lost the ability to manage their affairs. In the event that a person becomes unable to manage his or her assets because of mental incapacity an application can be made to the High Court for that person to be made a Ward of Court. The High Court then decides as to whether or not the person is capable of managing his or her own affairs.
Each year approximately 2,500 people are made Wards of Court. The fact that a person suffers from a psychiatric illness will in itself not be sufficient to have that person made a Ward of Court. The reason why we have a Ward of Court system is to protection vulnerable people from being exploited. However, application can only be made to the High Court. Clearly, medical evidence to include Psychiatric evidence will be crucial in the High Court Judge’s decision as to whether or not to make a person a ward of Court. If an individual is made a Ward of Court the President of the High Court Mr. Judge Kelly may make an Order appointing a Ward of Court Committee to act on behalf of the individual. The Committee can effectively act on behalf of the individual and do so in their best interest. In time an application can be made by the Ward to be discharged from Wardship, again medical evidence will be crucial. There has been a lot of concern voiced recently about the over paternalistic nature of the Wards of Court process. More recent legislation gives persons who may be unable to manage their affairs different rights. If you need assistance in any of the issues raised above please contact our partner Finola Cronin at fcronin@dobbynmccoy.com or telephone (051) 874087