Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015


Validity and applicability of advance healthcare directive

85. (1) An advance healthcare directive is not valid if the directive-maker—

(a) did not make the directive voluntarily, or

(b) while he or she had capacity to do so, has done anything clearly inconsistent with the relevant decisions outlined in the directive.

(2) An advance healthcare directive is not applicable if—

(a) at the time in question the directive-maker still has capacity to give or refuse consent to the treatment in question,

(b) the treatment in question is not materially the same as the specific treatment set out in the directive that is requested or refused, or

(c) at the time in question the circumstances set out in the directive as to when the specific treatment is to be requested or refused, as the case may be, are absent or not materially the same.

(3) An advance healthcare directive is not applicable to life-sustaining treatment unless this is substantiated by a statement in the directive by the directive-maker to the effect that the directive is to apply to that treatment even if his or her life is at risk.

(4) (a) An advance healthcare directive is not applicable to the administration of basic care to the directive-maker.

(b) In paragraph (a) “basic care” includes (but is not limited to) warmth, shelter, oral nutrition, oral hydration and hygiene measures but does not include artificial nutrition or artificial hydration.

(5) Where an ambiguity arises as to the validity or applicability of an advance healthcare directive—

(a) the healthcare professional concerned shall, in an effort to resolve the ambiguity —

(i) consult with the directive-maker’s designated healthcare representative (if any) or, if there is no designated healthcare representative, the directive-maker’s family and friends, and

(ii) seek the opinion of a second healthcare professional,


(b) if, after the healthcare professional has complied with paragraph (a), the ambiguity still has not been resolved, the healthcare professional shall resolve the ambiguity in favour of the preservation of the directive-maker’s life.

(6) F126[]

(7) F127[(a) Subject to subsections (1) to (5) and paragraph (b), an advance healthcare directive shall, insofar as provided for by this Part, be complied with unless, at the time when it is proposed to treat the directive-maker—

(i) his or her treatment is regulated by Part 4 of the Act of 2001, other than where he or she is detained under that Act on the grounds that he or she is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of section 3(1)(b) of that Act, or

(ii) he or she is the subject of a conditional discharge order under section 13A of the Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006,

and sections 56, 57, 59 and 60 of the Act of 2001 shall be construed accordingly.]

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a), where a refusal of treatment set out in an advance healthcare directive by a directive-maker relates to the treatment of a physical illness not related to the amelioration of a mental disorder of the directive-maker, the refusal shall be complied with.




Deleted (26.04.2023) by Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act 2022 (46/2022), s. 74(a), S.I. No. 195 of 2023.


Substituted (26.04.2023) by Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Act 2022 (46/2022), s. 74(b), S.I. No. 195 of 2023.