Mental Capacity Act 2005
The Mental Capacity Act is a law that protects vulnerable adults (aged sixteen and over) who might lack the mental capacity to make particular decisions for themselves. The Act provides the legal framework for acting and making decisions on behalf of individuals who lack capacity and everyone working with and/or caring for an adult who may lack capacity must comply with this Act when making decisions or acting for that person.
The Mental Capacity Act came into legal force in 2007 and affects anyone who is unable to make some or all decisions for themselves. The inability to make a decision could be because of a learning disability, mental health problems, brain injury, dementia, alcohol or drug misuse, side effects of medical treatment or any other illness or disability. This law makes a real difference to the lives of people aged sixteen and over who are unable to make some or all decisions for themselves and supports those who care for someone who has difficulty making decisions.
The Act states that all adults are legally able to make a decision for themselves unless it can be shown that they are unable to make it. This means that people must not assume that someone cannot make a decision for themselves just because they have a particular medical condition or disability, or because they are of a particular age or appearance. Everyone should be given all the help and support they need to make a decision before anyone concludes that they cannot make their own decisions. Any actions taken or decisions made on behalf of someone who lacks capacity must be done in their best interests. It is still important to involve that person wherever possible in making the decision.
The Mental Capacity Act also helps and supports people to plan ahead in case they are unable to make decisions in the future and provides safeguards such as Independent Mental Capacity Advocates to represent people who have difficulty in making decisions and have nobody to speak on their behalf.
The Government has produced leaflets and booklets to help everyone understand how the Act will work.
|Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Administration|
|Department||Adult services and housing|
|Telephone||020 8760 5534|
|Fax||020 8633 9463|
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Administration