Mental Capacity Act (2005) Code of Practice

The Code of Practice (Code) provides guidance on how the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (Act) works on a day-to-day basis. It has case studies and explains in more detail what the key features of the law are. Certain categories of people have a legal duty to have regard to the Code. This includes:

  • Professionals and anyone who is paid for the work they do in relation to people who lack capacity e.g. Doctors, nurses, social workers, care managers, solicitors, police officers, ambulance crew and paid carers;
  • Attorneys appointed under a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) or Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA); and
  • Deputies appointed by the Court of Protection (Court). Family, friends and unpaid carers do not have a duty to ‘have regard’ to the Code but will still find the guidance helpful.

A hard copy of the Code can be purchased from TSO (The Stationery Office). You can contact them on telephone number 0870 600 5522, email them or visit their website External website logo

The Code of Practice is also published in accordance with the Government's commitment to provide guidance assisting businesses and third sector organisations comply with regulatory obligations. The Code was last updated on 23 April 2007 and any revision date is as yet undetermined.

Deprivation of liberty safeguards - Code of Practice

The deprivation of liberty safeguards (DOLS) have been introduced into the Mental Capacity Act 2005 by the Mental Health Act 2007. It is planned that the safeguards will come into force in April 2009.

The safeguards provide a framework for approving the deprivation of liberty for people who lack the capacity to consent to treatment or care in either a hospital or care home that, in their own best interests, can only be provided in circumstances that amount to a deprivation of liberty.

The safeguards legislation contains detailed requirements about when and how deprivation of liberty may be authorised. It provides for an assessment process that must be undertaken before deprivation of liberty may be authorised and detailed arrangements for renewing and challenging the authorisation of deprivation of liberty.

The Code of Practice contains guidance on the deprivation of liberty safeguards. It is particularly intended to provide guidance for professionals involved in administering and delivering the safeguards, who are under a duty to have regard to the Code. The Code is also intended to provide information for people who are, or could become, subject to the deprivation of liberty safeguards, and for their families, friends and carers, as well as for anyone who believes that someone is being deprived of their liberty unlawfully.

Further information on DOLS and a copy of the Code of practice can be found on the Link to an external site Department of Health website.

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