No Longer ‘Anomalous, Confusing and Unjust’: The Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Colin Harper, Gavin Davidson, Roy McClelland

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Since 2002 there has been a broad and extensive process to develop new legislation relating to mental health and mental capacity which is of interest as it represents a new departure in terms of such legislation. The Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 legislates a fusion approach to mental capacity/mental health law. The provisions of the Act apply in general to people who are aged 16 and over and it goes beyond a proposed ‘model law’ of the fusion type in that it incorporates criminal justice provisions.

This article provides an overview of the process of development of the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016. The Act has its origins in the Recommendations of the Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability which are considered first. The publication of these recommendations was followed by an extended policy development process which is discussed next. Following an overview of the contents of the Act, key issues which emerged during the policy development and legislative processes are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Capacity Law
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 09 Dec 2016


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