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Capacity and the Law

Capacity and the Law
2021 Edition(1)(2)


Nick O’Neill

LLB(Melb), LLM(Lond)
Australian Lawyer
Director Capacity Australia
formerly President, Guardianship Tribunal, NSW


Carmelle Peisah

Old Age Psychiatrist
Conjoint Professor, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW
President Capacity Australia
formerly Professional Member, Guardianship Tribunal, NSW

This edition is updated from time to time – see the commencement of each chapter.

Table of Contents


Part 1 - Capacity and its attributes in action

Part 2 - Substitute decision-makers appointed by tribunals and courts

Part 3 - Appointing one's own substitute decision-maker

Part 4 - Substitute decision-making for the medical treatment of incapable people, including treatment and care at the end of their lives

  • Chapter 11 - The development of the law relating to the medical treatment of incapable people
  • Chapter 12 - Substitute consent to medical and dental treatment
  • Chapter 13 - Advance Directives
  • Chapter 14 - The proper practice and law relating to decision-making about treatment and care at the end of life
  • Chapter 15 - Sterilisation
  • Chapter 16 - Capacity to consent to research

  • Chapter 17 - Capacity and the right to refuse psychiatric treatment
  • Chapter 18 - Professional Capacity

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1 : This edition includes all 2021 updates to the third edition O’Neill N, Peisah C. Capacity and the law. [2011] SydUPLawbk 1 (Sydney University Press and the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII), September 2011, to take account of recent case law, legislative and policy developments.

2 : The authors would like to thank and acknowledge Katherine Le for her substantial assistance within the 2019 and 2021 updates and Jennifer Kwong for getting the substantial 2021 update up on this Platform.

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