If you or the person you care for has a disability or illness that makes it difficult to make decisions about medical treatment, care needs, finances and other aspects of everyday life, the Mental Capacity Act can help you. It clarifies the circumstances in which other people can act on behalf of someone who lacks capacity to make decisions and sets out the limitations and safeguards that now exist.
The aim of the Act is to put individuals at the centre of any decisions made regarding their care giving them the support and advice they need to make decisions for themselves where possible. The determination of capacity is made on a specific issue and at a specific time, and concluding that someone is not able to decide something today, does not mean that they will lack capacity about something else or at a different time.
The Act also created a new criminal offence of the ill-treatment or wilful neglect of someone who lacks mental capacity.