International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Volume 35, Issue 1, 2021, ebab016, https://doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/ebab016Published on 9 July 2021
Abstract: This article examines the Chinese experience with adult guardianship, focusing in particular on the regimes in Hong Kong and China. As jurisdictions in which the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘UNCRPD’) applies, a key question is whether the adult guardianship regimes in these jurisdictions can be considered compliant with the principles of the UNCRPD, specifically those in Article 12. The adult guardianship regimes in both jurisdictions are in essence substitute decision-making regimes and are therefore not consistent with the interpretation of Article 12 by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or what is described as the ‘strong interpretation’ in this article. The question remains, however, as to whether they might be nonetheless considered compliant with what is described in this article as the ‘weak interpretation’. This article explores supported decision-making, the concept of capacity and the existence and sufficiency of safeguards in each of the two regimes, concluding that neither regime can be considered compliant even using the weak interpretation of Article 12. Reflections on the way forward are discussed.