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