Legal Authority of Advance Care Directives
Although there is no legislation in NSW dealing with Advance Care Directives, it has now been established at common law that an Advance Care Directive is legally binding in NSW if:
- The person making the directive had capacity when they wrote it
- It was made freely without coercion
- It has specific details relevant to the person’s medical issues
Advance Care Directives are also more persuasive if they are reasonably current, and have been signed by a witness.
As a health professional you can be confident that you have acted lawfully, in accordance with the person’s consent or refusal, if you use an Advance Care Directive that has been prepared as outlined above. For more information on using Advance Care Directives in clinical situations go to 'Using Advance Care Directives'.