Changes as Seen by the Mental Capacity Act 2005
Act for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity must be done in their best interests and finally, anything is done for or on behalf of a person who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms. (MCA 2005).The Act affects individuals over the age of 16 and provides for these individuals to be able to make some decisions for themselves.This should include people with learning disabilities or mental impairments and it also provides for people anticipating problems in future decision making to nominate decision-makers for themselves. These decisions can under the Mental Health Act 2005 pertain to their property and affairs, healthcare treatment, and where the person lives, as well as lifestyle decisions and it is stated that this end has put an end to the long and winding Government efforts to reform Mental Health Law in England. Problems faced by the elderly suffering from undue influence and unfair extortion can be well remembered from cases like Commission for Racial Equality v Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing  I.C.R. 473. Liberian Shipping Corp v A King Sons Ltd (The Pegasus)  1 All E.R. 934: and in particular Royal Bank of Scotland Plc v Etridge (No.2) (2001) 3 W.L.R. 1021 and Humphreys v Humphreys  EWHC 2201 (Ch) which showed such problems of consent arising later in the bullying of weak-minded old people and women in commercial transactions.A perusal of the Act reveals that it enshrines the hybrid approach through combining in legislation the current best practice and common law principles for people who lack mental capacity and those who take decisions on their behalf. The law as it stood before this Act consisted of hotchpotch pieces of legislation which current statutory schemes for Enduring Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection receivership.Under the Act, the lack of capacity of a person can be assessed and through the “decision-specific” and time-specific test which would entail that no one can be labeled ‘incapable’ simply as a result of a particular medical condition or diagnosis.