Acts and Guiding Principles

The Mental Capacity Acts (MCA) says that the following key principles must be followed by every Deputy:

  • A person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they do not
  • A person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practical steps have been taken to enable them to make the decision without success
  • A person is not to be treated as lacking capacity because they make an unwise decision
  • Any act done or decision made under the MCA for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done or made in their best interests
  • Before any decision is made, regard must be given to whether or not the purpose for which it is needed can be achieved in a less restrictive way of the person's rights and freedom of action
  • A person lacks capacity when they are unable to make a certain decision because of an impairment or the disturbance of the functioning of their mind or brain.

Does the Act apply to Children and Adults?

It doesn’t apply to those who are under 16 years old, unless it can be established that they are likely to lack capacity to make decisions when they reach 18.

What do we mean by “unable to make a decision"?

A person is unable to make a decision if they cannot understand, retain and use information relevant to the  decision to be made and then communicate it to others by any means.

Click here to read a copy of the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice