The Story of Legal Capacity: Specificity and Intersections
In this article I explore legal capacity as it has impacted my life, through the lens of a negative experience and a positive one. As many of you know, legal capacity is an important right guaranteed in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It is also guaranteed in the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and in a broader sense is incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). My aim is to encourage people to be aware that legal capacity is a social construct, it is not an inevitable fact of life and can be changed – indeed we are seeing it change before our eyes with respect to the particular act of marriage. Legal capacity is being similarly reshaped from a disability standpoint, in a much more comprehensive way. Please see CRPD Article 12, the draft General Comment on Article 12 by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the IDA CRPD Forum Principles for Implementation of CRPD Article 12, and my article Norms and Implementation of CRPD Article 12, for more information.