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The lord chancellor's department has today published a consultation ...
The lord chancellor's department has today published a consultation

paper seeking comments on a pack of leaflets which give guidance in

respect of adults who, due to mental incapacity, may need support to

make decisions and also for those involved in caring for them.

The consultation paper containing the guidance leaflets, 'Making

decisions: helping people who have difficulty deciding for

themselves', will give advice and examples of best practice to people

who may find themselves having to make decisions on behalf of

mentally incapacitated adults. The leaflets are also aimed at people

who have learning difficulties and who wish to maximise their

independence as well as anyone who may wish to plan for a possible

loss of mental capacity later in life.

All six leaflets will offer advice and point readers to sources of

further information on a range of topics including financial

decision-making, access to legal advice and giving consent to medical

treatment. The guidance will set out the current law with regard to

decision-making on behalf of mentally incapacitated adults although

it is anticipated that the guidance will evolve over time, to reflect

future changes in law and policy affecting people who lack capacity.

The guidance has been formulated with the aid of close

co-operation between the lord chancellor's department and a broad

range of interested groups. These include voluntary sector

organisations representing people with learning disabilities, older

people and those with mental health problems, carer's organisations

and professional bodies in the areas of healthcare and the law. The

Department is very grateful to all these groups for their help in

taking this work forward.

There are six leaflets each aimed at a specific group of people,

namely: carers and relatives, health professionals, social care

professionals, legal professionals, people with learning difficulties

and those wishing to plan for a possible loss of mental capacity in

the future. All members of these groups are invited to give their

views on whether:

- the information contained in the guidance is useful

- there are any other issues which should be included in the


- the guidance is easy to read and understand

- the guidance is set out in a way that makes it easy to use

- the sources of further information are helpful

- respondents have any views on how the guidance should be

distributed so that it reaches relevant people

Responses to the consultation are sought by 9 July 2002.


1. The consultation paper containing the guidance leaflets gives

advice on decision-making within the current legal framework and aims

to clarify existing legislation and relevant common law principles.

However, it is anticipated that the guidance leaflets will set the

scene for future legislation in this area by identifying important

issues faced by mentally incapacitated adults and those that care for


2. The consultation paper is available on the LCD website .

3. Members of the public and relevant professions may obtain paper

copies of the consultation paper from Virginia Gray tel: 020 7210


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