The Mental Health Capacity Act

Document type
Mental Health Foundation
Date of publication
1 October 2005
Need 2 Know
Legislation, Mental health services, Mental health services
Social welfare
Material type

Download (156KB )

This briefing provides an overview of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 for England and Wales came into force in 2007, Scotland has its own Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000. It affects everyone aged over 16 whose mental capacity is in doubt. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is underpinned by five key principles: every adult should be assumed to be capable of making their own decisions unless proved otherwise; everyone should be given all the support they need to make their own decisions, before they are judged incapable of doing this; people should be able to make eccentric or unwise decisions – it is their capacity to make decisions, not the decisions themselves, that is the issue; anything done for or on behalf of people without capacity must be in their best interests; and anything done for or on behalf of people without capacity should restrict their rights and freedoms as little as possible.

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