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Final Day of the 3rd World Congress on Guardianship

Posting by A. Frank Johns, JD, LLM, CELA, CAP

The last day of the Congress began with a showcase general session on reform in Japan and China. Prominent academics presented the difficulties in their countries when confronting their large aging populations. Professor Arai described the law changes in Japan, since the passage of the Guardianship Act in 2000. Professor Rebecca Lee followed with her own description of how the more than 200 million (15% of the population) elders in China are served. She mentioned the hierarchy of family as the primary guardian, identified as family paternalism. She suggested that there is a preference of collectivism. China reform came last year with the enactment of the law on protection of elderly, suggesting that it remains based on Confucian tradition.

These differences in Japanese and Chinese practices of protection based on guardianship law are compared to other countries like Turkey, where Professor Seyman described the Turkish system of guardianship that is modeled after Sweden.

The comments of presenters from other countries were at times difficult to understand. However, the commitment to infuse the guardianship process with person-centered planning, supported decision-making, or whatever the name may be was clearly at the heart of all presenters and participants. _____

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) had a significant presence at the 3rd World Congress on Adult Guardianship held on from May 28 through 30, in the Washington DC suburb of Crystal City. Presenters from NAELA included Past President Rebecca Morgan, current Board member Professor Roberta Flowers, NAELA officer Catherine Seal, Board member Wendy Cappelletto, founding member Professor Lawrence Frolik, Professor Kim Dayton, Past President Bernard Krooks. The subjects of their presentations covered a broad spectrum focused on planning and implementation of Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Additional information about the presentations can be found through links at Many of the papers and more thorough academic articles will be published in the Journal of International Aging, Law and Policy. More information will also available from the National Guardianship Association at

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