View larger image

Assessment of Mental Capacity

A Practical Guide for Doctors and Lawyers, 4th Edition
The British Medical Association and the Law Society General Editor: Alex Ruck Keene
Availability: Published

Doctors, lawyers and other professionals often need to make an assessment of a person's mental capacity. This book helps to support these professionals by giving them:

  • a fuller understanding of the law in all situations where an assessment of capacity may be needed
  • clarification of the roles of both professions
  • an aid to communication both between them and with the person being assessed.

Written by experts from a variety of disciplines, this book combines a precise statement of the law with a practical, jargon-free approach to provide guidelines on a range of issues, from capacity to form intimate personal relationships to capacity to consent to medical treatment. This edition takes account of:

  • case law and good practice
  • revision of the Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice
  • the rising prominence of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It provides an essential source of guidelines and information, including extracts from the Act and the Code of Practice and is an indispensable tool for health and legal professionals.


  1. Part I Introduction:
  2. 1. The law, practice and this book
  3. 2. Professional and ethical issues.
  5. Part II Legalprinciples:
  6. 3. The Mental Capacity Act 2005: capacity and best interests
  7. 4. The legal principles: capacity and evidence.
  9. Part III Legal tests of capacity:
  10. 5. Capacity to deal with financial affairs
  11. 6. Capacity to make a will
  12. 7. Capacity to make a gift
  13. 8. Capacity to litigate
  14. 9. Capacity to enter into a contract
  15. 10. Capacity to vote
  16. 11. Capacity and personal relationships
  17. 12. Capacity to consent: the criminal law and sexual offences
  18. 13. Capacity to consent to and refuse medical treatment and procedures
  19. 14. Capacity to consent to research and innovative treatment
  20. 15. Capacity and the deprivation of liberty
  21. 16. Capacity and the Mental Health Act.
  23. Part IV Practical aspects of the assessment of mental capacity:
  24. 17. Practical guidelines for doctors
  25. 18. Practical guidelines for lawyers.
  27. Appendix:
  28. A. Mental Capacity Act 2005, ss.1-6
  29. B. Mental Capacity Act2005: Code of Practice, Chapters 2-4
  30. C. Court of Protection
  31. D. Court of Protection Practice Direction 9E:Applications relating to serious medical treatment
  32. E. The Official Solicitor
  33. F. Certificate as to capacity to conduct proceedings (Official Solicitor)
  34. G. COP3 Assessment of Capacity and Guidance Notes
  35. H. Sample letter to a GP requesting evidence of testamentary capacity
  36. I. Addresses
  37. J. Further reading.

About the Author

Alex Ruck Keene is a barrister at 39 Essex Chambers and an Honorary Research Lecturer at the University of Manchester. He has appeared in cases involving the Mental Capacity Act 2005 at all levels up to and including the Supreme Court.




Mental health


October 2015


Law Society




368 Pages