The legal reform made by the Law 8/2021, of June 2, established for the first time a respectful system with fundamental rights of people with disabilities which is in accordance with 2006 UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities . It changed the previous system completely as it situates the person with disabilities in the center of the process, respecting their will, their wishes and their preferences and ensuring the access to justice.
Support is the key idea: to support the person in the needed areas by respecting its will, wishes and preferences is stablished as a general rule. When support cannot be given due to an impossibility situation, representation to decision-making will be established. Care is valued and special attention is given to curatorship -assistance in Catalonia-. The process is oriented as an interprofessional collaboration system.
The most relevant changes of Law 8/2021 are the following ones:
- The possibility that the person with disabilities itself establishes its own voluntary measures based on its will, wishes and preferences and that judicial measures are only given in case of defect or insufficiency of the person’s will.
- The disappearance of legal incapacities, guardianship and rehabilitation or extension of parental authority. Legal development is sought in equality conditions, respecting fundamental human rights. Currently, guardianship is only applicable to unemancipated minors.
- Periodic revision of the support measures adopted every three years or in the event of any change in the person’s situation. Exceptionally and in a reasoned manner, the revision will be made every six years.
- Those who, by a contractual relationship, provide care, residential or similar services cannot exercise any support measure.
- Art. 7 bis of Civil Procedure Law, applicable to any jurisdiction by the supplemental nature of Civil Procedure Law, includes the right of people with disabilities to understand and be understood, easy reading, the facilitator figure and the possibility that they can be accompanied by a person of their choice from the first contact with the authorities. In the same sense, art. 25 of the Law of Notaries, May 28, 1862, whose last paragraph includes these aspects.
In Catalonia, the adaptation of the Catalan Civil Code to this legal reform was made by the Decree-Law 19/2021, August 31.
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