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United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reservations his Department is seeking in relation to the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and if he will make a statement. (248195)

My Department has been considering the implications of article 12.4 of the convention on the arrangements whereby a person may be appointed to exercise rights in relation to social security claims and payments on behalf of an individual who is for the time being unable to act.

Article 12.4 states that

“States Parties shall ensure that all measures that relate to the exercise of legal capacity provide for appropriate and effective safeguards to prevent abuse in accordance with international human rights law. Such safeguards shall ensure that measures relating to the exercise of legal capacity respect the rights, will and preferences of the person, are free of conflict of interest and undue influence, are proportional and tailored to the person's circumstances, apply for the shortest time possible and are subject to regular review by a competent, independent and impartial authority or judicial body. The safeguards shall be proportional to the degree to which such measures affect the person's rights and interests”.

The arrangements for appointees are not at present subject to the safeguard of regular review, so we are now actively working towards a proportionate system of review. We are currently considering the terms of the specific text which will be necessary to make our position clear on this article when the UK ratifies the convention.