Mental Capacity

ADV 305: Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy
      1.1 - Decisions and actions carried out under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 should be tested against the 5 key principles.
The five key statutory principles are:
1. A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he lacks capacity – this means that person over the age of 16 is assumed to be mentally capable of making their own decisions. This assumption can only be overridden if the person concerned is assessed as lacking the mental capacity to make a particular decision for him or herself at the relevant time.
2. 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 – this means is aimed at maximising the decision making capacity of individuals, therefore "all practicable steps" could include "providing information relevant to the decision in a simple format, making sure the person is in an environment he is comfortable in or involving an expert in helping the person express his views". The Parliamentary Joint Committee that reviewed the then draft Mental Capacity Bill said that such steps "might include using specific communication strategies, providing information in [a] more accessible form, or treating an underlying mental disorder to enable a person to regain capacity". Providing information over time may allow a person to assimilate information more completely, thereby maximising their actual understanding. Resource constraints are clearly relevant to the practicability of the assistance that might be required.
3. A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he makes an unwise decision – this means that everyone has the right to personal autonomy by preserving the right of a person to make an irrational, unusual or eccentric decision which, if viewed objectively, is not in that person’s best interests without the person being treated as being mentally incapable. It...