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competence

The legal recognition of an individual's ability to perform a task. The concept is not applied globally. Rather, it is directed at a specific category of demands, such as competence to assist counsel in preparing a defense, competence to manage financial affairs, or competence to give informed consent in legal or medical matters.

Definition reprinted with permission from Committee on Psychiatry and Law, of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry: The Mental Health Professional and the Legal System

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