Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act, which came into force on April 1st 2007, sets out the framework you must use to show whether or not someone might lack capacity to make a decision. The Act also sets out a 'Best Interests Checklist' which you use when making decisions on behalf of a person who lacks capacity.

The Act is most likely to apply to people with

  • A learning disability

  • Dementia

  • Brain Injuries

  • Mental Illness

The five principles of the Act are:

  • Every adult has right to make their own decisions and must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established otherwise.
  • You should support and encourage a person in making their own decisions. If it has been established that a person lacks capacity, it is still important to involve them in making decisions where possible.
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision just because he or she makes an unwise decision.
  • Any act done or decision made under the Act must be done or made in the persons best interests.
  • Before you make a decision for someone who lacks capacity, you should choose an option that is less restrictive of the persons rights.

The Mental Capacity Act allows you to name those you want to make decisions in the future when you might lack capacity yourself. These arrangements are called 'Lasting Powers of Attorney'. To find out more visit here