The Mental Capacity Act in Engand and Wales provides a statutory framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who need support or are not able to make or communicate their own decisions. It makes it clear who can take decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about this.
There are five key principles:
- Assume the person has capacity to make a decision.
- Support the person to make a decision.
- An unwise decision doesn’t indicate lack of capacity.
- If lack of capacity is established then any decisions made by others should always be taken in the best interests of the person.
- Less restrictive ways of meeting someone's best interests should be looked for.
An Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) can be appointed to act as a legal safeguard for people who lack capacity to make their own decisions.
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