Decision-making representation order
The Circuit Court can appoint a decision-making representative to act on your behalf and make certain decisions for you. The decisions they can make on your behalf are set out in the decision-making representation order.
The court will usually choose someone you know and trust to be your decision-making representative. If this is not possible, or if the decisions to be made are complex, the court can choose someone suitable from a panel of trained experts prepared by the Decision Support Service.
If the matter is urgent, the court may make the decision or decisions for you under a decision-making order.
Decision-making representation orders are one of the new types of decision supports that are in place since 26 April 2023. Before this date, if a person could not make decisions because they lacked capacity, and they had not appointed an enduring power of attorney, the person may have become a ward of court.
What can a decision-making representative do?
Your decision-making representative can only make decisions that the court has set out in the order. For example, the decision-making representative can only manage your finances if that is what the court has written down in the order for them to do.
The court will list all of the decisions that the decision-making representative can make. This may include decisions about property and money matters, as well as decisions about personal welfare.
When making a decision for you, your decision-making representative must:
- Make every effort to find out your past and present wishes about this specific decision, for example, getting the views of your friends, family and trusted advisors
- Help you to be involved in the decision-making as much as possible
The court can choose different persons to act as decision-making representatives for different types of decisions. For example they may consider experience that a person may have to manage your financial affairs and another representative to manage your personal welfare and property.
Decision-making representatives that are chosen by the Decision Support Service from the panel of trained experts are paid for their work. This payment may be taken from your estate.
The court will review your capacity (ability to make decisions) and the basis for any decision-making representative regularly. If your capacity changes, the decisions covered by the decision-making representation order may also change.
You can read the Code of Practice for the guidance of decision-making representatives.
Who can be a decision-making representative?
When choosing a decision-making representative for you, the court will consider:
- Your known wishes
- Your relationship and compatibility with the decision-making-representative
- If they are able to perform the role
- Any conflicts of interest they might have
The person cannot be a decision-making representative if they:
- Have been convicted of an offence against you or your child
- Are financially insolvent or have been convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty (unless the agreement is about personal welfare decisions)
- Are the owner or a registered provider of a designated care or mental health facility where you live or the employee of such a person (unless they are your close relative)
A decision-making representative’s appointment may also end if the representative:
- Is your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and your relationship ends
- Becomes ineligible for one of the above reasons.
How to get a decision-making representation order
You or your decision-making representative cannot make a decision-making representation order. Only the court can make a decision-making representation order.
If you are not able to make certain decisions for yourself, even with support from another person (for example in a co-decision-making agreement), then you or someone who has a genuine interest in your welfare can ask the court to make a decision-making representation order.
You can read the steps involved in making a decision-making representation order
You can check what documents you will need in the court to make a decision-making representation order.
If the court agrees that you are not able to make certain decisions for yourself, it can appoint one or more decision-making representatives to make those decisions for you. A decision-making representation order can be time-limited. It will also limit the powers of the decision-making representative as is appropriate.
What happens during a decision-making representation order?
The court will regularly check that the arrangement is working the way it should.
The Decision Support Service will also monitor decisions made by your decision-making representative. Your decision-making representative must submit a written report to the Decision Support Service every year or at shorter intervals if the court requires them to do so. Each report must include details of financial matters, costs and expenses related to the decisions included in the order.
If their decisions relate to your property and affairs, the decision-making representative must submit a list of your assets, liabilities, income and expenses so that the Decision Support Service can monitor these.
How to check if someone has a decision-making representation order
When the court makes a decision-making representation order, it will notify the Decision Support Service and send them a copy of the order.
They will keep a register of all decision-making representation orders. Certain people and organisations will be able to search the register if they have a good reason to do so, for example, banks, lawyers and doctors. These people will also be able to request a certified copy of the decision-making representation order from the Decision Support Service.
The Decision Support Service will keep a record of anyone who searches the register or receives a certified copy of a decision-making representation order.
Making a complaint
Anybody can make a complaint to the Decision Support Service about a decision-making representative. You can make a complaint about a decision-making representative for 2 reasons:
- The representative is making, or is trying to make, decisions that are not included in the arrangement
- The person is not suitable for the role
Complaints must be made in writing. You can read more about making a complaint about a decision-making representative on the Decision Support Service website
Ending or changing a decision-making representation order
A decision-making representation order will end if:
- The court decides to end the order after an application by you, your decision-making representative or any other person with a genuine interest in your welfare.
- The court decides that you have regained capacity.
- Your decision-making representative is not willing or able to continue in their role and the court makes an order.
A decision-making representation order will also end if the time that the decision-making representation order covers has passed and it has not been renewed.
Changing a decision-making representation order
You or your decision-making representative cannot change your decision-making representation order. Only the court can change a decision-making representation order. The court may change a decision-making representation order following an application to the court by you, your decision-making representative or any other person with a genuine interest in your welfare.
How much does a decision-making representation order cost?
There is a fee of €130 to make an application to the court for a decision-making representation order. You can check how much an application costs on the court service website.
If you want a lawyer to help you in court, you will have to pay for their services. If you can’t afford a lawyer check if you can get free legal aid and legal advice from the legal aid board.
You may be entitled to legal aid, based on your income, assets and dependents. If you are entitled to legal aid, your legal aid will cover the costs of your lawyer and of the court application. However, you may have to pay some of it back.
You can get further information from the Decision Support Service.