Journal Article

Critical Commentary

Robert Johns

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 37, issue 3, pages 557-564
Published in print April 2007 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Critical Commentary

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The implementation of the 2005 Mental Capacity Act in England and Wales heralds a new era for social work practitioners and researchers. Protecting and empowering vulnerable adults—an important element of adult-care social work—relies on a legal framework that attempts to balance adults’ rights with the desire to protect them. The new Act is part of that framework, addressing the fundamental issue of when and how decisions can be made on behalf of people who lose decision-making abilities (‘capacity’). The Act encompasses the meaning of incapacity and best interests, advance directives concerning treatment, managing people’s affairs and making decisions for them, overseeing the delegation process, and research. In explaining how the Act addresses some of these challenges, the article alerts practitioners and researchers to the key areas in which the Act will make a major impact.

Keywords: social work and law; adult care; vulnerable adults; mental capacity; consent; protection; research ethics

Journal Article.  3234 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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