A Four-Speed Reform: A Typology for Legal Capacity Reforms in Latin American Countries

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In the past few years, Latin American countries have started to enact changes in their legal capacity regulations regarding persons with disabilities. However, even when these changes started over eight years ago, there were few to no analyses on the matter. In addition, there is no encompassing theory or typology on how these reforms happen and on their effects. In the present paper, we propose two axes of analysis for the reforms: enforceability and compliance with Article 12 of the CRPD. This matrix allows for four kinds of reforms: incipient, formal, conciliatory and radical. Using this matrix, we examined the legislative changes in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. Incipient reforms (Mexico) are not that effective but can lead to serious later change. Formal reforms (the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua) have few to no effects. Conciliatory reforms (Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica) are a legislative compromise that allows for progressive change. Finally, radical reforms create encompassing change that is good but might create problems in the implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Latin America
  • civil code
  • disability
  • legal capacity
  • persons with disabilities


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