Court Rules of Ireland

Order 47: Persons of unsound mind



1. Every originating application to the court to have a person declared to be of unsound mind shall be commenced by civil bill in which Form 2F of the Schedule of Forms annexed hereto being a civil bill as to capacity signed by the applicant and by his solicitor (if any), and prior to the issue of such civil bill there shall be filed two affidavits, whereof one shall be made some person having an interest in the well being of the person alleged to be of unsound mind, and the other by a medical practitioner.

2. The affidavit of the person having an interest in the well being of such person shall set forth —

(i) the name and residence of the person alleged to be of unsound mind and of his next of kin, so far as same are known to the deponent; and

(ii) the evidence of the alleged unsoundness of mind within the personal knowledge of the deponent; and

(iii) the particulars of the property required to be protected and to be applied for the said person’s advantage.

3. The affidavit of the medical practitioner shall set forth distinctly and particularly —

(i) the nature of the alleged unsoundness of mind; and

(ii) the evidence as to demeanour, conversation, acts and physical causes upon which the opinion of the deponent as to soundness or unsoundness of mind is founded.

4. The applicant or his solicitor shall issue the civil bill and affidavits with the County Registrar, and as soon as shall be practicable after the issuing thereof, shall cause a copy of such civil bill to be served upon the person alleged to be of unsound mind, and upon the person with whom he resides, or under whose care he is, together with a notice of the issuing of such affidavits.

5. An appearance and defence to such civil bill shall be entered and delivered as the case may be in the manner and within the times specified in Order 15.

6. Upon the expiration of the time for appearance, or, where an appearance has been entered, upon the expiration of the time for a defence the applicant or his solicitor may serve notice of trial, and shall serve the same upon all persons who have been served with the civil bill, and upon such other persons (if any) as have entered an appearance thereto.

7. If the applicant or his solicitor does not serve notice of trial within 10 days after delivery of the defence, then the person alleged to be of unsound mind, or any person who shall have entered an appearance on his behalf, may do so, or may apply to the court by motion on notice to the applicant to have such civil bill dismissed for want of prosecution or may serve a notice of trial in accordance with Order 33, rules 4 and 5 of these Rules.

8. Upon the hearing of such civil bill, the Judge, if he shall consider the evidence in support of the application insufficient, may require such other evidence as may seem to him necessary or expedient, and may direct a medical practitioner, other than the practitioner upon whose affidavit the civil bill was grounded, to report confidentially to the Judge upon the circumstances of the case, and may adjourn the hearing pending the receipt of such report.

9. If the Judge is of opinion upon the hearing of the civil bill that such person is of unsound mind and incapable of managing his person or property, and that the property requires to be protected and applied for his advantage, he may declare that such person is of unsound mind and incapable of managing his person or property, and that such property requires to be protected and applied for his advantage; and in that event he shall appoint, or give directions for the appointment of, a guardian of the person and property of the said person, and may commit to such guardian the care of the said person, and the management of his property. In any case in which the Judge may think proper he may appoint different persons guardians of the person and of the property. Where an order is made directing the appointment of such a guardian or guardians, the person to be appointed, unless otherwise ordered, shall give security to be approved by the Judge for the faithful discharge of his duties, and shall duly account for what he shall receive as such guardian, and shall pay the same as the Judge shall direct.

10. In any case in which the Judge shall declare a person to be of unsound mind and incapable of managing his person or property, or in any case in which he shall dismiss the civil bill, the Judge may make such order as to costs and expenses of and incidental to the proceedings as to him shall seem right.

11. The medical practitioner visiting and reporting under the direction of the court shall be allowed such fee as the Judge may think proper. Such fee shall be dealt with by the Judge and as part of the expenses of the proceedings, but shall in the first instance be paid by the petitioner, or by the solicitor having carriage of the proceedings, as the Judge may direct.

12. The Judge may at any time direct the investment of any fund the property of the person of unsound mind in such securities, and subject to such conditions as may seem proper, and direct such accounts as he shall think necessary to be passed by the guardian of the property, at such time and in such manner as he shall appoint, and all such accounts shall be taken by the County Registrar and shall be filed in the office.

13. Should the property increase in value, the guardian shall notify the fact to the County Registrar; and if the property is enlarged by such increase beyond the jurisdiction of the court, the County Registrar shall notify this fact to the court and to the Registrar of Wards of Court.

14. When any judgment or order has been made by the court declaring any person to be of unsound mind and incapable of managing his person or property, the County Registrar shall forthwith send notice of such judgment or order with a sealed copy thereof to the Registrar of Wards of Court, and such notice shall set forth the then known amount of such person’s property and the net income arising therefrom.

15. Where, under order of the court, any person resides in an institution or mental hospital for the care of the insane, one of the Inspectors of Mental Hospitals shall forward to the County Registrar once in each year, for the information of the court, a report as to the care, treatment and general condition of such person.

16. Every guardian of a person of unsound mind shall once at least in each year, and as often as he shall be required by the court, furnish to the County Registrar a return setting forth, as nearly as the circumstances of each case will permit, the particulars which Committees of Lunatics are required to furnish to the Registrar of Wards of Court under the General Orders in Lunacy (27 June, 1879) or such other General Orders as may be from time to time in force.

17. The court may discharge from control and regulation of the court any person of unsound mind so found, upon being satisfied that he has been restored to sound mind and to the capacity for managing his property; but no order for discharge shall be made by the court until the Judge has personally examined the person to be discharged.

18. Upon the death of any person of unsound mind so found, it shall be the duty of the guardians appointed by the court to file with the County Registrar a certificate or other evidence of the death of such person with a verified statement setting forth the circumstances of such person’s property, and the claims, if any, against it in respect of costs, maintenance, or otherwise, in the matter of the lunacy, and the Judge, upon being satisfied that all such claims have been duly discharged, and (if required by the Judge) upon probate or letters of administration being exhibited to the County Registrar, shall by order direct the matter to be dismissed out of the jurisdiction of the court.

19. Every application to the court subsequent to the judgment upon a civil bill as to Capacity shall be made by motion grounded upon an affidavit setting forth the facts relevant to the application.

20. Subject to the foregoing rules, the rules and practice in relation to persons of unsound minds and wardship for the time being relating to the jurisdiction of the President of the High Court shall, so far as applicable, apply to all proceedings in respect of persons of unsound mind in the Circuit Court.