Thanks to Down Syndrome Association Malta for providing this information.

The current situation

In Malta it is sometimes the case that people with Down syndrome might have their legal capacity removed just because they have Down syndrome.

The guardianship law was enacted in 2012. This allows parents of children with different abilities to apply for a guardianship order. 

Guardianship orders are open to anyone who suffers from a condition that renders them incapable of taking care of their own affairs.

The guardian is appointed to help the person under the guardianship order and to safeguard their well-being. The guardian will also do anything for, or on behalf of, the person subject to a guardianship order issued by the Guardianship Board.

The person who is subject to a guardianship order has their will respected as much as possible. Therefore, being subjected to a guardianship order does not mean that one is stopped from contributing to decision-making per se. On the contrary, their wishes will be taken on board and if these are in their interest they will be implemented. Their welfare will also be promoted.

The guardianship order is not a universal order. It is tailored according to the person subjected to that order. This shows that these are not simply blanket orders to be used in the same fashion for everybody.

Since a person subjected to a guardianship order will be helped to find a place within society, the order must be tailored to suit that person’s particular needs and not all needs are the same for everybody.

What needs to change?

We are currently working on:

  • The right to be insured to buy a home.
  • Personal assistance.
  • Autonomy bill.

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

Taken from the Concluding observations report, 2018:


  • The Committee is seriously concerned that persons with disabilities are still deprived of their legal capacity and subject to multiple forms of discrimination, pursuant to certain provisions of the Civil Code which provide for substitute decision-making regimes.
  • It is also concerned that persons with disabilities are still placed under interdiction and incapacitation orders, and that the personal autonomy bill, which is currently being drafted, may deprive persons with disabilities of their legal capacity, by introducing concepts and mechanisms such as “safeguarder”, “co-decision-making” and “representation agreements”.


  • Amend all discriminatory legal provisions with a view to abolishing substitute decision-making regimes;
  • Restore the full legal capacity of all persons with disabilities and review its guardianship system and all remaining interdiction and incapacitation orders;
  • Introduce supported decision-making mechanisms that respect the autonomy, will, and preferences of persons with disabilities, and adopt and implement a personal autonomy bill that is in accordance with article 12 of the Convention;
  • Improve data collection and disaggregation concerning persons who are still under substitute decision-making regimes and interdiction or incapacitation orders, with a view to improving public policies designed for social inclusion.

Take action.

Contact Down Syndrome Association Malta to support this campaign in your country.