The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is a critical pieces of legislation, employed every day by social care practitioners working with people aged 16 and over.
But with case law and practice contexts continuing to evolve, staying up to date with the MCA is vital to legal literacy in social work and occupational therapy.
That is why Community Care has invited some of the leading legal authorities on the act to deliver a masterclass on it in Manchester, on 13 March 2024.
Barrister, trainer and writer Alex Ruck Keene KC (Hon) will open the day with an update on the latest key cases from the Court of Protection.
Handling complex cases
He will also provide guidance on handling cases involving complex capacity assessments and best interests decisions.
Alex’s colleague at 39 Essex Chambers, Neil Allen, will follow this with a session on the application of the act to hoarding cases.
Neil will draw upon the judgment in AC and GC (Capacity: Hoarding: Best interests)  EWCOP 39, the first Court of Protection ruling on hoarding, in which he appeared.
He will cover, among other things, the relevant information for the purposes of a capacity assessment when it comes to a person making decisions about their items and belongings.
Executive functioning difficulties
Neil will also deliver the next session, on the challenge of conducting capacity assessments of people with executive functioning difficulties. These may mean that a person may appear to have capacity to make a decision but may not, in practice, be able to carry the decision out.
He will highlight the importance of using real-world observations, in some contexts, and focusing on the person’s ability to use and weigh information as part of the capacity assessment.
After lunch, Ben Troke, author of A Practical Guide to the Law on Deprivation of Liberty (Law Brief Publishing), will examine the state of the law on deprivation of liberty.
Ben, who is a partner at the firm Weightmans, will look at how to understand deprivations of liberty in context and the importance of focusing on a person’s rights to private and family life, as well as to liberty.
Consent to engage in sexual relations
Next up will be Lorraine Kavanagh KC, whose session will cover the assessment of people’s capacity to engage in sexual relations and contract a marriage.
This will cover the relevant information for each assessment, and circumstances where assessing capacity to engage in sex is person-specific, not act-specific.
Rounding off the day will be a session from Community Care Inform’s legal editor, Tim Spencer-Lane, on the challenging topic of the interface between the MCA and the Mental Health Act 1983.
This will cover recent case law on the interface, as well as options for reforming it.