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Mental Capacity and Family Practitioners

Date:1 MAR 2007

District Judge Gordon Ashton Deputy Master of the Court of Protection Visiting Professor in Law at Northumbria University. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 establishes a comprehensive statutory framework setting out how decisions should be made by and on behalf of those whose capacity to make their own decisions is in doubt. The implementation date has now been put back from April to October 2007 in view of the work still to be done. A Code of Practice and Court Rules have to be produced administrative changes made in regard to the new Office of the Public Guardian and Court of Protection and suitable judges nominated and trained. The Code of Practice will provide practical guidance to all involved in the process and must be followed by attorneys deputies and care professionals. It will be updated as experience is gained and to reflect decisions of the Court of Protection.

The new Act is built around a series of key principles: the presumption of capacity; when someone can be said to lack capacity; and that decisions should be made by or in the best...

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