Thanks to Associazione Italiana Persone Down for providing this information.

The current situation

As for any person, in Italy, legal capacity - which allows, for example, to own a house - is also acquired at birth by persons with Down syndrome.

Legal capacity to act - which allows, for example, to sell that house - is acquired at the age of majority by anyone.

The legal capacity to act can be limited, partially or - now less frequently - totally, by the adoption of one of the legal protection measures provided for by our legal system.

Support administration is the most in keeping with respect for the person's wishes and aspirations.

This form of legal protection is adapted to the person's needs and aims to protect autonomy, with the least possible limitation of the capacity to act.

However, it is not obligatory to proceed with the request, except for those responsible for health and social services directly engaged in the care and assistance of the person. In that case, when aware of facts that make it advisable to open the procedure of support administration, they are obliged to propose to the judge the appeal referred to in Article 407 or to inform otherwise the public prosecutor.


A person with Down syndrome, who was totally deprived of his legal capacity to act, was offered the possibility of employment.

The family, together with AIPD and a lawyer, moved to lift the ban and turn it into a support administration.

This meant that the man could sign his own employment contract.

What needs to change?

In Italy, the right to vote belongs to all those who have reached voting age, including those who have been deprived of the legal capacity to act.

In the run-up to elections, AIPD organises 'courses' to explain how to fill out the ballot paper correctly and encourages people with Down syndrome to participate in voting.

What the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities report says.

Taken from the Concluding Observations report, 2016:


  • The Committee is concerned that substituted decision-making continues to be practised through the mechanism of administrative support “Administrazione di Sostegno”.


  • The Committee recommends that the State party repeal all laws that permit substituted decision-making by legal guardians, including the mechanism of administrative support and the enactment and implementation of supported decision-making provisions, including the training of professionals in the justice, health and social sectors.

Take action.

Contact Associazione Italiana Persone Down to support this campaign in your country.