Rights of patients with reduced active legal capacity

A person has limited active legal capacity in two cases:

  • They are a minor (a child or young person under the age of 18).
  • They are an adult who, due to a mental illness, intellectual disability or other mental disorder, is permanently unable to understand or control their actions.

In the case of a person with limited active legal capacity, the consent to provide health care services must be sought from their legal representative, i.e. guardian. The legal representative is appointed by the court.

In special situations, it is also permitted to provide assistance without consent to a person who is without capacity to exercise will (e.g. unconscious) or has limited active legal capacity. Health care services may be provided to a person with limited active legal capacity without consent if two conditions described in the Law of Obligations Act have been fulfilled simultaneously.

  • If he or she does not have a legal representative or his or her legal representative cannot be reached, the provision of services is permitted if this is in the interests of the patient and corresponds to his or her presumed intention.
  • If failure to provide health care services promptly would put the life of the patient at risk or significantly damage his or her health.

In addition, a doctor has the right to decide whether a healthcare service is in the patient's interest even if the patient’s legal representative does not consent to it.

Illustratsioon: kaks meest uurimas suurt sirklit.