Wards of Court : New provisions relating to affidavits of Medical Practitioners supporting a Petition to the High Court for Wardship.

The new provisions concerning the content of medical affidavits / medical reports in relation to Wardship Proceedings, came into force on 5th October, 2020. These differ considerably from the previous reports which were required and the details required is much more comprehensive.

The information set out below must now be included in the affidavit and/or medical report of any registered Medical Practitioner whose evidence is to be relied upon to support a petition to the High Court.:

(1)        The date, place, duration and circumstances in which the medical examination was carried out.  The examination should have been carried out within three months of the presentation of the petition. If not, the application may  be rejected and the Petition refused.

(2)        The nature and duration of any prior relationship between the medical practitioner and the the person in respect of whom the application is being made.

(3)       The nature of the examination carried out and details of the test and/or capacity tools deployed by the registered Medical Practitioner for the purpose of concluding whether the person concerned is or is not of unsound mind and incapable of managing his/her affairs.

(4)        Whether in the opinion of the registered Medical Practitioner, the person concerned is or is not of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs.

(5)        Where the Medical Practitioner is of the opinion that the person concerned is of unsound mind and incapable of managing their affairs i.e. lacks capacity, he/she should state:

(i)         the nature of the persons illness/condition;

(ii)        the likely date of onset of that illness/condition;

(iii)       the symptoms pertaining to that illness/condition;

(iv)       the evidence relied upon in making their diagnosis; and

(v)        whether the illness/condition is permanent or likely to improve.

(6)    Where a Medical report is prepared containing the above information, any verifying affidavit sworn by the Medical Practitioner need only affirm the content of the medical report. The Medical Practitioner is not required to set out all the foregoing information as is contained in the Medical Report in their affidavit.

(7)     Any such medical affidavit must be sworn within one month of the date on which   the medical examination was carried out and the jurat [ swearing clause ] must comply with S.I. 95 of 2009.

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