Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.

Learn More →

Is mental capacity in the eye of the beholder?

Is mental capacity in the eye of the beholder? PurposeThe purpose of this paper – written by a practising barrister specialising in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – is to survey law and practice in England and Wales with a view to sketch out a preliminary answer as to whether it can be said there is, in fact, any legally defensible concept of mental capacity.Design/methodology/approachReview of case-law in England and Wales and relevant domestic and international law, in particular the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“CRPD”).FindingsIt is right, and inescapable, to say that mental capacity is in the eye of the beholder, and will remain so even if we seek to recast our legislative provisions. Rather – and perhaps ironically – the conclusion set out above means that we need to look less at the person being assessed, and more at the person doing the assessing. We also need to further look at the process of assessment so as to ensure that those who are required to carry it out are self-aware and acutely alive to the values and pre-conceptions that they may be bringing to the situation.Research limitations/implicationsIt seems to me that it is right, and inescapable, to say that mental capacity is in the eye of the beholder, and will remain so even if we seek to recast our legislative provisions. Absent major developments in neuroscience, it will inescapably remain a concept which requires judgments based on interactions between the assessor and the assessed. But that is not thereby to say that it is an irremediably relative and flawed concept upon which we cannot place any weight. Rather the conclusion set out above means that we need to look less at the person being assessed, and more at the person doing the assessing. We also need further to look at the process of assessment so as to ensure that those who are required to carry it out are self-aware and acutely alive to the values and pre-conceptions that they may be bringing to the situation.Originality/valueThis paper serves as a reflection on the best part of a decade spent grappling with the MCA 2005 in and out of the court room, a decade increasingly informed by and challenged by the requirements of the CRPD. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Emerald Publishing

Is mental capacity in the eye of the beholder?

Loading next page...
 
/lp/emerald-publishing/is-mental-capacity-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder-BolnQQjcmA
Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2044-1282
DOI
10.1108/AMHID-11-2016-0035
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper – written by a practising barrister specialising in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – is to survey law and practice in England and Wales with a view to sketch out a preliminary answer as to whether it can be said there is, in fact, any legally defensible concept of mental capacity.Design/methodology/approachReview of case-law in England and Wales and relevant domestic and international law, in particular the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (“CRPD”).FindingsIt is right, and inescapable, to say that mental capacity is in the eye of the beholder, and will remain so even if we seek to recast our legislative provisions. Rather – and perhaps ironically – the conclusion set out above means that we need to look less at the person being assessed, and more at the person doing the assessing. We also need to further look at the process of assessment so as to ensure that those who are required to carry it out are self-aware and acutely alive to the values and pre-conceptions that they may be bringing to the situation.Research limitations/implicationsIt seems to me that it is right, and inescapable, to say that mental capacity is in the eye of the beholder, and will remain so even if we seek to recast our legislative provisions. Absent major developments in neuroscience, it will inescapably remain a concept which requires judgments based on interactions between the assessor and the assessed. But that is not thereby to say that it is an irremediably relative and flawed concept upon which we cannot place any weight. Rather the conclusion set out above means that we need to look less at the person being assessed, and more at the person doing the assessing. We also need further to look at the process of assessment so as to ensure that those who are required to carry it out are self-aware and acutely alive to the values and pre-conceptions that they may be bringing to the situation.Originality/valueThis paper serves as a reflection on the best part of a decade spent grappling with the MCA 2005 in and out of the court room, a decade increasingly informed by and challenged by the requirements of the CRPD.

Journal

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual DisabilitiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 6, 2017

References