The voluntary and continuing permission of a person over 16 to agree to a course of action or inaction based on adequate knowledge of the purpose, nature, likely effects and risks of the proposed action/inaction including the likelihood of its success and any alterations to it.
Individuals will be assumed to have the Capacity to make informed decisions, unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.
Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a person is unable to make a decision if s/he is unable:
- To understand the information relevant to the decision;
- To retain that information;
- To use or weigh that information as part of the process of making the decision; or
- To communicate his/her decision.
In cases where there is evidence that a person lacks Capacity to make specific decisions, where appropriate, provision may be made to find a suitable independent person to represent their 'best interest' , for example an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA).