The British Columbia Law Institute has just begun work on a two-year project to examine the legal tests that determine whether a person has the mental capacity necessary to carry out a transaction or enter into a relationship. The Rationalizing and Harmonization of BC Common-Law Tests of Capacity Project focusses on tests of capacity that are embodied in court decisions. These common-law tests of capacity hold sway over many important areas of the law: they are engaged, for example, when a person whose capacity is in doubt makes a will, enters into a contract, or gets married. Demographic changes and scientific advances provide the impetus for a re-examination of rules that, in some instances, have seen little change since they were first articulated in the nineteenth century. The goal of the project is to frame proposed reforms in draft legislation, which will be contained in the project’s final report. An all-volunteer committee made up of experts in the field is assisting the BCLI in deciding on its recommendations for reform.
This project has been made possible by grants from the Law Foundation of British Columbia and the Notary Foundation of British Columbia.
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