SPRC Social Policy Debate: Supported Decision Making

When:11 Aug 2015, 4:30pm – 6.30pm
Venue:SMC Conference & Function Centre, 66 Goulburn St, Sydney
Who:Social Policy Research Centre

This house believes that with sufficient support, people with disability should never be required to have a substitute decision maker

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities challenges the current legal assumption that sometimes supported decision making for people with disability must be replaced with substitute decision making because some people do not have capacity to make a decision, even with unlimited support. Is it feasible to change the way we think about supported decision making? The Australian Law Reform Commission’s recent report, Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws (ALRC Report 124), is the first internationally to unpack that question. Some disability advocates think the Commission’s report does not go far enough because it still identifies when a substitute decision maker is required.


Gerard Quinn


Anna Arstein-Kerslake & Rosemary Kayess


Rosalind Croucher & Carmelle Peisah


Professor Gerard Quinn is the Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the School of Law and Visiting Professor at UNSW. He is a leading authority on international and comparative disability law and policy and is a professor of law at National University of Ireland Galway.

Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake is the Academic Convenor of the Disability Research Initiative at the University of Melbourne. She is also the Director of the Disability Human Rights Clinic at Melbourne Law School. Her research focuses on the human rights of persons with disabilities, especially the rights to equal recognition before the law and legal capacity. She provided support to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability in creating their General Comment on the right to legal capacity.

Rosemary Kayess co-directs the disability and human rights project at the Australian Human Rights Centre, Faculty of Law and is a researcher at the Social Policy Research Centre UNSW. She was the external expert on the Australian Government delegation to the United Nations negotiations for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Professor Rosalind Croucher AM is President of the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Commissioner that led the ALRC’s world leading investigation into capacity, published last year – Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws.

Dr Carmelle Peisah is an Old Age Psychiatrist and Conjoint Associate Professor in School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine UNSW. She is president of Capacity Australia and has written


Debate: 5.00pm-6.00pm

Refreshments: 6.00pm-6.30pm

This is a free event but space is limited. RSVPs are essential. Please register to attend.

Auslan interpreters will be present.

If you have any special requirements, please contact the (02) 9385 7800 or sprc@unsw.edu.au