Wardship under New President

Ms. Justice Mary Irvine took over as President of the High Court from Mr. Justice Peter Kelly in June 2020. 

The Wardship jurisdiction now vests in her and she oversees the Wardship list.  She has issued a Practice Direction on Affidavits of Medical Practitioners which support a Petition for Wardship.   The Practice Direction is most welcome as there are strict requirements for Medical Affidavits which can be tricky for practitioners. 

The Practice Direction sets out that the following information must be included in the Affidavit and/or the Medical Report of the registered Medical Practitioner whose evidence is to be relied upon to support a Petition presented under the Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871.

1) The date, place, duration and circumstances in which the medical examination was carried out.  (The examination should have been carried out within three months of the presentation of the petition).

2) The nature and duration of any prior relationship between the medical practitioner and the respondent.

3)  The nature of the examination carried out and details of the test and/or capacity tools deployed for the purpose of concluding whether the respondent is or is not of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs.

4)  Whether in the opinion of the registered medical practitioner, the respondent is or is not of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs. 

5)  Where the medical practitioner is of the opinion that the respondent is of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs i.e. lacks capacity, he/she should state:

            (i)         the nature of the respondent’s illness/condition;

            (ii)        the likely date of onset of that illness/condition;

            (iii)       the symptoms pertaining to that illness/condition;

            (iv)       the evidence relied upon in making their diagnosis; and

            (v)        whether the illness/condition is permanent or likely to improve.

6)  Where a medical report is prepared containing the above information, any verifying affidavit sworn by the medical practitioner need only affirm the content of the medical report. The medical practitioner is not required to set out seriatim in their affidavit the information contained in their report.

7)  Any such medical affidavit must be sworn within one month of the date on which   the medical examination was carried out and the jurat must comply with S.I. 95 of 2009. 

This Practice Direction will remain in force until further notice.

The Practice Direction is dated 2nd September 2020 and takes effect from the 5th October 2020 and should be a very helpful guidance note when requesting medical reports from busy Medical Practitioners.