PLENARY 1: CONGRESS OPENING, ADULT CAPACITY – THE PRESENT AND FUTURE
The exercise of legal capacity is integral to individual autonomy. Many jurisdictions have been moving to laws, policies and practices which take a more inclusive and supportive approach towards the capacity of adults with mental disabilities. However, recent developments in international human rights law, notably led by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are requiring a complete culture change from systems which simply provide safeguards against unjustified intrusions in the lives of persons with mental disabilities to actively supporting and protecting the exercise of mental capacity to ensure individual autonomy on an equal basis with others.

After and opening welcome, this session will consider relevant developments to date and the direction of travel in this area.


PLENARY 2: LAW REFORM – BALANCING PROTECTIONS AND FREEDOMS
Human rights and freedoms are universal. Everyone is entitled to enjoy them regardless of disabilities, but sometimes the enjoyment of rights requires that measures are taken to protect the person concerned or others. In these cases, a balancing of various rights and freedoms is required. Moreover, international human rights law is increasingly placing a greater focus on equality and non-discrimination in rights enjoyment and on the autonomy of persons with mental disabilities.

This session will review processes of law reform, including approaches to balancing the protections and freedoms of persons with mental disabilities.


PLENARY 3: SUPPORTED DECISION-MAKING
Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires States Parties to ensure access to appropriate support for persons with disabilities so that they can exercise legal capacity on an equal basis with others. Often referred to as ‘supported decision-making’ the objective of such support is to overcome decision-making challenges so that the voice of the person concerned is heard and respected in the same way as for others who do not encounter such challenges.

This session will consider how supported decision-making can achieve this objective and experience of ways in which it appears to be working, or not working.


PLENARY 4: WCAC 2022 AND BEYOND
This closing session aims to sum up the work of the Congress, to identify some of the themes emerging from it, and to pave the way forward, including towards the next World Congress in Buenos Aires.