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Question

475. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons that have asked in each of the past five years to come out of the wards of court procedure; the number that were granted; the number of requests on file; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12983/19]

476. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedures involved for a person who no longer wishes to be a ward of court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12984/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 475 and 476 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, the High Court has jurisdiction in wards of court matters and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided the number of applications made and granted for discharge from wardship in each of the years 2014 - 2018.

Year Applications made Applications granted
2014 3 3
2015 0 0
2016 3 3
2017 7 7
2018 7 7

The Courts Service has also advised that there is one application on hand at present.
The Deputy will note that all the applications made for discharge from wardship were granted. However, any request for discharge from wardship must be based on medical evidence. Without such evidence an application cannot be put to the President of the High Court for consideration.
The Courts Service has informed me that the process for discharging a person from wardship is in their view straightforward. The current procedure for a person to be released from wardship is as follows:
- If a person wishes to leave wardship the application is usually made on his/her behalf by his/her committee. However, if the person applies directly to the Wards of Court Office that office will correspond directly with that person. A letter is sufficient to commence the process.
- A report from a medical practitioner saying that the ward is capable of managing his/her property and person must be lodged. The Wards of Court Office will then ask a court medical visitor to attend the ward and to provide a report for the benefit of the court. If that report also confirms that the ward has capacity, the matter is listed before the President of the High Court at the next available wards of court motion list, which is usually on Mondays during the legal term.
- If the President of the High Court is satisfied with the medical evidence, an order is made discharging the person from wardship and remitting him/her control of his/her assets.
The Courts Service has further advised that the process can be completed in a matter of weeks, depending on the time taken to procure the medical reports. However, if there is an urgency to the application it will be prioritised by the Wards of Court Office.