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Article

Access_open Invisible before the law

The legal position of persons with intellectual disabilities under the Dutch Care and Compulsion Act (Wzd) in light of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Journal Family & Law, June 2021
Keywords dicrimination, guardianship, incapacitated adults, legal (in)capacity
Authors F. Schuthof LLM
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the Netherlands, the use of involuntary treatment in the mental health care sector is governed by the Dutch Care and Compulsion Act (Wzd). This study examines the legal position of persons with intellectual disabilities under this Act. The Wzd is analyzed in light of the human rights standards of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The findings of this study show that the Wzd does not meet the standards of Article 12 in several cases. The Wzd does not recognize the legal capacity of persons with intellectual disabilities, it continues to allow for substituted decision-making and support measures are not complemented by adequate safeguards. From a theoretical point of view, an imbalance between the protection of and the respect for the autonomy of persons with intellectual disabilities can be observed. This article formulates several recommendations in order to restore this balance.
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    De Nederlandse Wet zorg en dwang (Wzd) ziet toe op de rechten van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking bij onvrijwillige zorg of onvrijwillige opname. Dit artikel onderzoekt de juridische positie van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking ten aanzien van deze wet. De Wzd wordt geanalyseerd in relatie tot artikel 12 van het Verdrag inzake de Rechten van Personen met een Handicap (VRPH). De bevindingen van dit onderzoek laten zien dat de Wzd in verschillende gevallen niet voldoet aan de normen van artikel 12 VRPH. Zo wordt onder andere de handelingsbekwaamheid, ofwel ‘legal capacity’, van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking niet erkend en blijft plaatsvervangende besluitvorming mogelijk. Vanuit theoretisch oogpunt is er sprake van een disbalans tussen de bescherming van en het respect voor de autonomie van mensen met een verstandelijke beperking. Dit artikel doet daarom meerdere aanbevelingen om dit evenwicht te herstellen.


F. Schuthof LLM
Fiore Schuthof conducts research into better empowerment and protection of the elderly as a PhD student at Utrecht University (UU).

    This article engages in a comparison of the regulation of PR in the Netherlands and the UK (specifically England and Wales). The latter is a good comparator as it operates a similar regulatory approach to the Netherlands, that of conditional acceptance of PR, the condition being (prior) consent. Furthermore, the UK boasts a more detailed and mature legal framework that continues to be tested through caselaw, and thus offers insight into how a regulatory approach conditional upon the (prior) consent of the deceased can fare.
    The article starts with a brief exposition of the new Dutch guidelines and the current legislative position in the Netherlands vis-à-vis posthumous reproduction (part II). Likewise, the relevant UK guidelines and legislative position are summarized (part III). This article draws out the similarities and differences between the two regimes, as well as engaging in a critical analysis of the regulations themselves. It then looks at how the UK regime has been challenged in recent years through caselaw in anticipation of the issues that might confront the Netherlands in future (part IV). The article concludes (part V) that the key lesson to be drawn from the UK experience is that clarity and consistency is crucial in navigating this ethically, emotionally, and time sensitive area. Further, that both the UK and the Netherlands can expect demand for more detailed and precise regulatory guidance as requests for the procedure increase, and within evermore novel circumstances.

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    Dit artikel vergelijkt de regulering van postume reproductie (PR) in Nederland en het Verenigd Koninkrijk (in het bijzonder Engeland en Wales). Laatstgenoemde is daarvoor zeer geschikt, aangezien het VK een vergelijkbare reguleringsbenadering heeft als Nederland, namelijk de voorwaardelijke acceptatie van PR, waarbij (voorafgaande) toestemming de voorwaarde is. Bovendien beschikt het VK over een gedetailleerder en volwassener juridisch kader dat continu wordt getoetst door middel van rechtspraak. Dit kader biedt daarmee inzicht in hoe een regulerende benadering met als voorwaarde (voorafgaande) toestemming van de overledene kan verlopen.
    Het artikel vangt aan met een korte uiteenzetting van de nieuwe Nederlandse richtlijnen en de huidige positie van de Nederlandse wetgever ten opzichte van postume reproductie (deel II). De relevante Britse richtlijnen en het wetgevende standpunt worden eveneens samengevat (deel III). Vervolgens worden de overeenkomsten en verschillen tussen de twee regimes naar voren gebracht, met daarbij een kritische analyse van de regelgeving. Hierop volgt een beschrijving van hoe het VK de afgelopen jaren is uitgedaagd in de rechtspraak, daarmee anticiperend op vraagstukken waarmee Nederland in de toekomst te maken kan krijgen (deel IV). Tot slot volgt een conclusie (deel V) waarin wordt aangetoond dat de belangrijkste les die uit de Britse ervaring kan worden getrokken, is dat duidelijkheid en consistentie cruciaal zijn bij het navigeren door dit ethische, emotionele en tijdgevoelige gebied. En daarnaast, at zowel het VK als Nederland een vraag naar meer gedetailleerde en precieze regelgeving kunnen verwachten naarmate verzoeken om deze procedure toenemen, met daarbij steeds weer nieuwe omstandigheden.


Dr. N. Hyder-Rahman
Nishat Hyder-Rahman is a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family Law, Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, Utrecht University.
Article

Access_open A changing paradigm of protection of vulnerable adults and its implications for the Netherlands

Journal Family & Law, February 2019
Authors H.N. Stelma-Roorda LLM MSc, dr. C. Blankman and prof. dr. M.V. Antokolskaia
AbstractAuthor's information

    The perception of how the interests of vulnerable adults should be protected has been changing over time. Under the influence of human and patient’s rights a profound shift of protection paradigms has taken place in the last decades. In the framework of this shift, in addition to traditional adult guardianship measures, new instruments have been developed allowing adults to play a greater role in the protection of their (future) interests. This has also been the case in the Netherlands, where adults in the course of the last decade have acquired the possibility to make a so-called living will, internationally better known as a continuing, enduring or lasting power of attorney. This article discusses this instrument, in comparison with the traditional adult guardianship measures currently in force in the Netherlands, from the perspective of the new protection paradigm based on a human rights approach.
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    In de afgelopen decennia is de manier waarop naar de bescherming van kwetsbare meerderjarigen wordt gekeken, veranderd. Van een benadering waarbij de focus voornamelijk lag op bescherming is de nadruk steeds meer komen te liggen op het recht op autonomie en zelfbeschikking van de meerderjarige. De opkomst van mensen- en patiëntenrechten heeft geleid tot het ontstaan van een nieuw beschermingsparadigma. In dat kader zijn nieuwe instrumenten ontwikkeld, die meerderjarigen een grotere rol toekennen in de bescherming van hun (toekomstige) belangen. Dit is eveneens het geval in Nederland, waar meerderjarigen een levenstestament kunnen opstellen om voorzieningen te treffen voor een toekomstige periode van wilsonbekwaamheid. Dit artikel bespreekt het levenstestament, in samenhang met de traditionele rechterlijke beschermingsmaatregelen, vanuit het perspectief van het nieuwe beschermingsparadigma.


H.N. Stelma-Roorda LLM MSc
Rieneke Stelma-Roorda is PhD candidate at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

dr. C. Blankman
Kees Blankman is associate professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

prof. dr. M.V. Antokolskaia
Masha Antokolskaia is professor of family law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

    The comparative discussions held during this seminar show that the different jurisdictions make use of – approximately – the same ingredients for their legislation on adult guardianship measures and continuing powers of attorney. Given the common international framework (for example the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and given the common societal context (cfr. the strong increase of the ageing population) this may not come as a surprise. Despite these common ingredients, the different jurisdictions have managed to arrive at different dishes spiced with specific local flavours. Given that each jurisdiction bears its own history and specific policy plans, this may not come as a surprise either. The adage ‘same same but different’ is in this respect a suitable bromide.
    For my own research, the several invitations – that implicitly or explicitly arose from the different discussions – to rethink important concepts or assumptions were of most relevance and importance. A particular example that comes to mind is the suggestion to ‘reverse the jurisprudence’ and to take persons with disabilities instead of healthy adult persons as a point of reference. Also, the invitation to rethink the relationship between the limitation of capacity and the attribution of a guard comes to mind as the juxtaposition of the different jurisdictions showed that these two aspects don’t need to be automatically combined. Also the discussion on the interference between the continuing powers of attorney and the supervision by the court, provoked further reflection on hybrid forms of protection on my part. Finally, the ethical and medical-legal approaches may lead to a reconsideration of the traditional underlying concepts of autonomy and the assessment of capacity.


Veerle Vanderhulst Ph.D.
Veerle Vanderhulst works at the Faculty of Law and Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

    Those who talk can be heard. Those who are allowed to talk may be listened to. This study is an attempt to give legal voice to those who cannot talk or are usually not listened to: children. This study is about the attention given to their interests, the best interests of the child. When these interests are immersed in a minority context, children may be overlooked for different reasons, including discriminatory attitudes or prejudice regarding their families. Law and its interpretation must be changed in order to include the difference. This study discusses the best interests of the child principle with special attention to its legal relevance in cases where lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are, or want to be, parents. The authoritative source for the interpretation of the principle is the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The analysis focuses on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and its case law. The study aims to explore the Court’s approach to the best interest of the child and identify whether the principle is being consistently applied in cases involving LGBT families, given the fact that sexual orientation and gender identity are still sensitive issues in Europe. This is done by comparing these cases to cases lodged by applicants who were not identified as an LGBT person. The margin of appreciation doctrine and the lack of European consensus on sexual minorities’ rights are confronted with the urgent paramount consideration that has to be given to children’s best interests. The analysis explores whether there is room for detecting a possible Court’s biased approach towards the concept of the best interests of the child. This study challenges the Court’s decisions in the sense that the focus should not only be at the LGBT parents’ rights to private and family life, but also at the interests of their daughters and sons. This is an attempt to call upon the ECtHR and all states not only to actively fight discrimination against LGBT persons, but, ultimately, to stop interpreting the concept of the best interests of the child in an arguably biased way, and to consider the principle’s legal value in any decision, regardless of their parents’ sexual orientation, gender identity or any other distinction.


Mr. Gabriel Alves de Faria
Gabriel Alves de Faria is a Brazilian lawyer, LGBTI activist and human rights specialist who holds a Law degree from the Federal University of Espirito Santo and a European Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation (E. MA/EIUC - Utrecht University). Among other legal and social experiences in the human rights field, Gabriel has worked as a researcher in comparative sexual orientation Law at Leiden University and most recently as a Fellow and consultant lawyer at the LGBTI Rapporteurship of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC. His latest project is a documentary on the situation of LGBTI persons in Southeast Asia.

    This article seeks to critically analyse the European Commission's Proposal for a Council Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes (COM (2011) 126). It focuses upon the coordination of the Proposal's provisions on jurisdiction and applicable law with the parallel provisions contained in other related EU private international law instruments, namely those relating to divorce (Brussels II bis and Rome III) and succession (Succession Regulation). In doing so, the article adopts a 'stress-test' approach, presenting scenarios in which interaction between these related instruments takes place. The compositions and circumstances of the fictitious couples in these scenarios are varied in order to fully illustrate the potential consequences of the interplay between the instruments. This article seeks to assess the extent to which (in)consistency exists between the current and proposed EU private international instruments and, by evaluating this interaction through a number of norms, how identified inconsistencies impact upon international couples' legal relationships. In order to ensure the analysis remains as up to date as possible, the article will also take into account relevant changes introduced in the latest revised versions of the Proposal.


Jacqueline Gray LL.M.
Jacqueline Gray studied law at the University of Glasgow (2006-2010) and European law at the Leiden University (2010-2011). Following this, she undertook a four-month internship at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law and five-month traineeship at the European Parliament in Brussels. She is now a PhD student at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, where she is writing her dissertation on party autonomy in the EU private international law relating to family matters and succession.

Pablo Quinzá Redondo LL.M.
Pablo Quinzá Redondo, a research scholar funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Valencia. His specialisation concerns 'The europeanisation of matrimonial property regimes from a substantive and private international law perspective'. Prior to commencing his PhD, he completed undergraduate degrees in both Law and Administration and Business management (2004- 2010), as well as a Master’s degree in Company Law (2010-2012), at the University of Valencia.
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