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Mental Capacity

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework to empower and protect people who may lack capacity to make decisions for themselves and also establishes a framework for making decisions on their behalf.  This applies whether the decisions are life changing events or everyday matters. All decisions taken in the adult safeguarding process must comply with the Act.

The Mental Capacity Act outlines five statutory principles that underpin the work with adults who may lack mental capacity:

  • A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practicable steps to help him to do so have been taken without success
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision
  • An act done, or decision made, under the Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his best interests
  • Before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action

Mental Capacity refers to the ability to make a decision about a particular matter at the time the decision is needed.