What is the Mental Capacity Act?


The Mental Capacity Act 2005 applies to England and Wales and provides a framework to empower and protect people who may lack capacity to make certain decisions for themselves. The Act is supported by a code of practice that provides guidance to all those who care for and/or make decisions on behalf of those who lack capacity.

The Act sets out five statutory principles that support the legal requirements of the legislation and code of practice. The five principles are:

  • a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that he or she lacks capacity;
  • a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision unless all practical steps to help him or her to do so have been taken without success;
  • a person is not to be treated as unable to make a decision merely because he or she makes an unwise decision;
  • an act done, or the decision made, under this Act or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done, or made, in his or hers best interests; &
  • before the act is done, or the decision is made, regard must be had to whether the purpose for which it is needed can be as effectively achieved in a way that is less restrictive of the person’s rights and freedom of action.

A solicitor can provide practical advice as to the application of these principles to individual circumstances.

For anything further, one of our specialists would be delighted to meet you either in our office or in your own home to talk through your requirements and answer any questions. Please contact us at any time.