MDAC training on legal capacity law reform in Bulgaria

22 March 2012. Earlier this week, the Mental Disability Advocacy Center held a two-day training event on legal capacity and supported decision-making in Sofia, Bulgaria, for the members of the newly established task force on Bulgarian legal capacity law reform.

The Bulgarian Parliament passed a law on the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities on 26 January 2012. Nine days previously, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Stanev v. Bulgaria, in which the applicant was represented by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and MDAC. The ratification means that Bulgaria must implement Article 12 of the CRPD, which sets out the right to legal capacity. And the Stanev judgment also means that Bulgaria must make changes to its legal capacity law.

To this end, the Government has recently established a working group tasked to prepare new legal capacity legislation. The working group consists of governmental and non-governmental experts.

During the training, participants strengthened their knowledge about legal capacity in the context of the CRPD, learned about supported decision-making, and were provided with information on the Czech legal capacity law reform. They identified political, economic, legal and attitudinal barriers to CRPD-compliant legal capacity law reform. The event enabled the task force to discuss and identify ways in which these obstacles can be overcome. Among the trainers were Maths Jesperson, founding member of the European Network of (ex-) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, and the initiator, the leader and later a board member of PO-Skåne, Zuzana Durajová, legal monitor for MDAC and its Czech partner organization, the League of Human Rights (LIGA), and Sándor Gurbai, MDAC project manager on legal capacity law reform.

The training was jointly organised by MDAC and the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law (BCNL), and was funded by a grant to MDAC by the Zennström Philanthropies. For more information contact

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