British Columbia Law Institute Seeks Volunteers For Mental Capacity Committee
"The British Columbia Law Institute is about to commence a large-scale project to study common-law tests of mental capacity. It is basic law that mental disability or illness does not, in and of itself, leave a person incapable under the law to carry out transactions, enter into relationships, or manage his or her affairs. The law’s focus is on the degree of mental disability or illness. If a person’s mental illness or disability exceeds in degree a legal threshold, then that person will be considered incapable in the eyes of the law. This legal threshold is commonly called a test of capacity. "
"There is no single, global test of capacity. Instead, the law has developed many different tests of capacity, each geared to specific types of transactions or relationships. Over the past 20 years, British Columbian and Canadian law has seen significant development of legislation relating to mental capacity, which has yielded modern and sophisticated rules on when a person is mentally competent to perform certain tasks or enter into certain transactions. But many areas of the law continue to rely on older common-law tests of capacity, which hold sway in contract law, wills-and-estates law, and family law, among other areas. This project’s goals are to study and illuminate selected common-law tests of capacity, to determine where the current law has shortcomings that require modernization or harmonization, and to recommend legislative reforms to address those shortcomings."