Capacity and vulnerability

how lawyers assess the legal capacity of older clients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article presents the findings of a research project that examined the Capacity Complaints investigated at the New South Wales Office of the Legal Services Commissioner between 2011 and 2013. The article outlines a tripartite theory of vulnerability to demonstrate the potential for lawyers’ capacity assessments to increase the vulnerability of older clients with a cognitive impairment. The Capacity Complaints are then analysed, highlighting where reported practice falls short of the prescribed guidelines. The article concludes with recommendations for more consistent and rigorous guidelines and improved legal education to protect the human rights of older people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-282
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Law and Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • capacity
  • vulnerability
  • legal ethics
  • elder abuse
  • elder law
  • decision-making
  • ethics

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