Protection of vulnerable adults

In civil matters, vulnerable adults are persons older than 18 years who, by reason of an impairment or insufficiency of their personal faculties, are not in a position to protect their interests as defined under Article 1 of the 2000 Hague Convention on the international protection of adults (the 2000 Adults Convention). The vulnerability of the people concerned may result from various factors, including mental or physical impairments affecting the ability to make decisions or to assess the implications (e.g. the financial implications) of those decisions.

Several measures may support vulnerable adults in exercising their rights. Protective measures are measures aimed at protecting the person or property of the vulnerable adult. Such protective measures could be imposed on the basis of judicial decisions or the decision of a competent authority. Powers of representation can be established as a useful precautionary measure at a time when a person is still capable of protecting their own interests to arrange their representation and the conditions for managing their personal and financial affairs in a future situation of vulnerability.

At international level, the protection is ensured by the 2000 Adults Convention. The Convention has entered into force in 10 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia and Portugal).

All Member States and the EU are parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

CNUE – Vulnerable Persons (the-vulnerable.eu) provides you with information on the national rules applying to the protection of vulnerable adults in 22 European countries.

Last update: 18/01/2022

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