I have today laid before Parliament the Mental Capacity Act code of practice. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses along with the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a statutory framework for people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions. It sets out who can take decisions, in which situations and how they should go about this. It also enables people to make provision for a time in the future when they may lack capacity to make some decisions.
Section 42 of the Act requires the Lord Chancellor to prepare a code of practice to provide information and guidance on how the Act will work in practice. A draft version of the code was published for full public consultation in 2006. More than 160 individuals and organisations responded, and many of the suggestions and comments received have been incorporated into the final version.
The Act requires a range of people to "have regard" to the code; for example, anyone acting in a professional or paid role in relation to someone who lacks capacity. Everyone who cares for, or makes decisions on behalf of, someone who lacks capacity will need to follow the new law when it comes into force. The code is intended to provide valuable information and guidance to all those covered by the Act and has been written to meet the needs of this wide and varied audience.