The Act deals with the assessment of a person's capacity and acts by carers and people working with those who lack capacity

  • Assessing capacity
    the Act sets out a single clear test for assessing whether a person lacks capacity to make a particular decision at a particular time. More information on assessing capacity is available in the 'Assessing capacity and best interests' section of this site and in the Code of Practice.
  • Best interests
    the Act provides a non-exhaustive checklist of factors that decision-makers must work through in deciding what is in a person's best interests. More information on understanding best interests is available in the 'Assessing capacity and best interests' section of this site and in the Code of Practice.
  • Acts in connection with care or treatment
    the Act offers statutory protection from liability where a person is performing an act in connection with care or treatment of someone who lacks capacity. This means that giving medical treatment to someone who lacks capacity to consent, can be done lawfully providing it is in his or her best interests.

    The Act also explains the limitations of acts in connection with care or treatment and further information can be found by clicking on the 'Assessment of Capacity & acts by carers of those who lack capacity' section.  People who work in health and social care should also see Chapter 5 of the Code of Practice.

Back to top

The Act sets out provisions whereby people can plan ahead for a time when they may lack capacity

  • Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA)
    the Act allows a person to appoint an Attorney to act on their behalf if they should lose capacity in the future. More information on Lasting Powers of Attorney is available.
  • Advance decisions to refuse treatment
    the Act makes it possible to make an advance decision to refuse treatment should they lack capacity in the future.  The Act sets out clear safeguards for the making and application of advance decisions. Further guidance and explanation of advance decisions can found, in Chapter 9 of the Code of Practice.

Back to top

The Act creates important safeguards

  • A new Court of Protection
    the new Court will have the power to make declarations about whether someone lacks capacity, make orders, or appoint Deputies to act and make decisions on behalf of someone who lacks capacity. More information on the Court of Protection and Deputies is available.
  • A new Public Guardian
    the Act creates a new public official called the Public Guardian.  The Public Guardian will have several duties under the Act including registering Lasting Power of Attorney's (LPA's) and Deputies. The Public Guardian will be supported in his role by a new office called the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). More information on the Public Guardian and OPG is available.
  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)
    an IMCA is someone appointed to support a person who lacks capacity but has no one to speak for them, such as family or friends.  They will only become involved when decisions about serious medical treatment or a change in the person's accommodation where it is provided by the NHS or a local authority. More information on the IMCA's can be found on the Link to external site Department of Health website.
  • Research involving people who lack capacity
    the Act sets out clear guidelines for research involving people who lack capacity. The research must be approved by an appropriate body, who will also ensure that the research is safe and relates to the person's condition. They must also ensure that the research would not be as effective if they use people who have mental capacity. More information on research and its regulations can be found on the Link to external site Department of Health website.
  • New criminal offence
    the Act introduces 2 new criminal offences of ill treatment and wilful neglect of a person who lacks capacity. A person found guilty of such an offence may be liable to imprisonment for up to 5 years. More information on the new criminal offence can be found in chapter 14 of the Code of Practice

Back to top