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Representing People with Mental Disabilities

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Chapter Summary

For a lawyer, it may take longer to get instructions from a client with some mental disabilities, for example, and it may be necessary to choose vocabulary and simple sentence structures so that that a person with intellectual disabilities can understand the advice offered. Capacity of the client should be determined at the beginning of the client-lawyer relationship, and reviewed on an ongoing basis over the course of events. The provision of an appropriate standard of legal services is not necessarily just a matter of professional ethics. Failure to meet such a standard can also in itself give rise to a violation of the client’s rights under the ECHR. The ECtHR expects lawyers to provide a certain standard of service, and, as discussed in the chapter, it is certainly reasonable for clients to expect provision of such professional services.

Keywords: ECHR; ECtHR; mental capacity; mental disabilities; standards of representation

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