Mental Health Law

Mental Health Law includes a wide variety of legal topics concerning people with a diagnosis or possible diagnosis of a mental health condition and to those involved in managing or treating such people.


There are two different forms of Power of Attorney that can apply in Ireland. The first of these is a Power of Attorney whereby you can authorise someone to take certain actions for you and do certain things for you for a specific purpose or for a specific period of time. This form of Power of Attorney, which is often called a “Current” or “General” Power of Attorney would commonly be used where for example someone is out of the country and requires some business to be attended to here while they are away, or often it would be created by someone who, whilst they still have full mental capacity, may not be very mobile, and they want to give someone their Power of Attorney so that they can have assistance with dealing with their bank or other third parties.

The other form of Power of Attorney is an Enduring Power of Attorney which is a document which enables you to choose and appoint who it is that you would like to have responsibility for looking after both your personal affairs and your financial affairs in the event that you are unlucky enough, through accident or illness, to lose your mental capacity at some future point in time. 

Many people are mistakenly of the view that a person’s “Next of Kin” can make decisions on their behalf when in fact a person’s “Next of Kin” has no legal standing. 

The most important point about an Enduring Power of Attorney is that it is only ever intended to become effective IF you lose your mental capacity at some future point in time.  

Many people are of the view that an Enduring Power of Attorney becomes effective the moment it is signed and they therefore have shied away from completing one because they feel that by doing so their ability to manage their own affairs will be immediately taken away from them and put into the hands of their Attorneys. That is absolutely not the case.  

The specific difference between this form of Power of Attorney and the Enduring Power Of Attorney is that the Enduring Power only comes into effect in the event that you lose your mental capacity at some future date whereas the “Current “or “General “Power of Attorney only applies and can only be used for so long as you have full Mental Capacity.

 The Enduring Power of Attorney is referred to as “Enduring” because it lasts for the duration of any subsequent Mental Incapacity of you.

 If you should require any further information about the concept please contact us. 

Mental Health Tribunals

Mark Felton was a founding member of the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association and is a former Chairperson of that Association. He is also a member of the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association Mental Health and Capacity Committee and the Law Society Mental Health and Capacity Task Force.  

Our Mental Health Law solicitors have been at the forefront of this very important area and continue to work for the benefit of our clients in this important and difficult area of law.   We are members of the Mental Health Commission legal representatives panel and our Mental Health Law Solicitors Paul McKnight and Mark Felton are regularly appointed to act on behalf of patients who are involuntarily detained in approved centres.

If you have any questions about your rights following admission to a hospital in Ireland, either voluntarily or involuntarily our Mental Health Law knowledge fully enables our Mental Health Law solicitors to advise you on all matters of concern to you. If you feel your rights may have been violated or if you have any questions about your rights under the Mental Health Act, if you feel you have been discriminated against in your workplace or elsewhere arising out of this area of Law, or if you need any advice about the Mental Health Act and how it may affect you or apply to you, you can contact our Mental Health Solicitors who will be able to advise you and assist you about this very important area of law.

 We have also advised clients in relation to issues regarding their Human Rights under the United Nations Conventions on Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities. Each of these conventions has specific sections that are relevant to those persons who are involuntarily admitted to Psychiatric Hospitals in Ireland. Our Mental Health Law experience in these areas fully equips our Mental Health Law solicitors to fully advise clients on all issues that arise.

Wardship Applications

Since the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 came into operation on the 26th April 2023 it is no longer possible to make an application to make someone a Ward of Court.   In place of Wardship Applications the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 provides a number of processes whereby the affairs of a person who has lost capacity can be managed. We are happy to elaborate further and answer any additional queries you may have about this complex area of law. Click here for further information on the Decision Making Capacity Act 2015

The Wards of Court Office has commenced a three year statutory review for the discharge of all adult Wards of Court.

We are happy to elaborate further and answer any additional queries you may have about this complex area of Law.

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