Assessing Capacity (Auckland Workshop)

A practical guide for legal practice

Question: How do you determine whether a client has capacity for giving instructions or making legal decisions? 

Answer: With care, experience, an eye on case law, and knowledge about how to conduct an assessment.  

Assessing capacity has many applications ─ for health care, finances, making a will, personal relationships and even liberty and placement in care. In this workshop, two of the developers of the popular Toolkit for Assessing Capacity and book, Assessment of Mental Capacity a New Zealand Guide for Doctors and Lawyers, will provide insights into the legal  tests, the method of assessing capacity, when to refer for a clinical assessment, using forms and templates, the lawyer’s role in supportive decision-making, cultural considerations and more; and attendees will get to tackle some realistic capacity scenarios.  

Registrants are invited to submit their main question or issue in respect of assessing mental capacity by Thursday 12 October, to <a href="mailto:”> 

Places are limited. Register now to avoid missing out. 

Who Should Attend

This workshop is designed for all legal professionals who assess mental capacity in their area(s) of practice, such as private client, family, and mental health and general practitioners, including court-appointed lawyers under the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988. 

  • Become better informed of the key concepts.  
  • Learn the legal tests and method for assessment of capacity. 
  • Learn when and how tikanga and other cultural considerations are factored in. 
  • Become more aware of the role you as a lawyer can play in supportive decision-making 
  • Know when and how to refer a client to a doctor for a capacity assessment 
  • Benefit from useful forms and templates. 
  • Through realistic scenarios, garner tips for developing better practice and greater confidence in making an assessment. 


Alison Douglass
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Alison is a barrister at Barristers Chambers in Dunedin, previously Wellington for 20 years before moving to Dunedin in 2011. She has a broad background in litigation, specialising in health and disability law. Alison is court-appointed counsel and appears in the Family and appellate courts for people with impaired capacity.

She is the 2014 recipient of the New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship and has written a law reform report on the Protection of Personal and Property Rights Act 1988, now on the work programme of Te Aka Matua o te Ture, the Law Commission. She is co-author with Dr Greg Young, consultant psychiatrist and Professor John MacMillan, ethicist, of the Toolkit for Assessing Capacity, a practice guide and book Assessment of Mental Capacity: a New Zealand Guide for Doctors and Lawyers (2020).

Alison is a Deputy Chair of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

Dr Greg Young
Click here to read profile

Dr Greg Young is a psychiatrist who works in forensic, general and old age psychiatry. He has been involved in teaching and research into clinical assessment of capacity since beginning practice as an old-age psychiatrist in 1999. He is one of the co-authors of Assessment of Mental Capacity, a New Zealand Guide for doctors and lawyers. Dr Young is the Director of Area Mental Health Services in Hawkes Bay, a clinical senior lecturer at Otago University and an Affiliate of the Otago Bioethics Centre.



Pricing Details

Ticket Price

Member: $375.00 GST

Non-Member: $530.00 GST


Registration Close Date