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Exercising your right to legal capacity (easyread)

If you have a mental disability, it is important to know that there are laws that protect your right to make your own decisions. This post will give some information about two of those laws: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

This is an international law which lists the human rights of disabled people. It says that disabled people have the same rights as other people and that disabled people should be treated equally by the law. The right to make legally recognised decisions is an important part of CRPD. This also includes the right to the support a person may need to make those decisions.

The United Kingdom signed CRPD in 2009 and agreed to do what CRPD says to ensure full equality of disabled people under the law.

You can read an easyread version of the CRPD.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA)

This is a law that applies to people in England and Wales who find it difficult to make a decision about their lives. It lists 5 important things that should be considered when using the MCA. These are:

  1. Start off by thinking that everyone can make their own decisions.
  2. Give the person all the support they can to help them make decisions.
  3. No-one should be stopped from making a decision just because someone else thinks it is wrong or bad.
  4. Anytime someone does something or decides for someone who lacks capacity, it must be in the person’s best interests – there is a checklist for this.
  5. When they do something or decide something for another person, they must try to limit the person’s own freedom and rights as little as possible.

You can also read an easyread version of the MCA.

The MCA has been very important for the lives of people with mental disabilities. However, it has been also criticized because it does not protect the rights of disabled people as much as it should.

The Everyday Decisions project looks at how people with mental disabilities make decisions and how they are supported to enjoy their legal capacity. We hope to be able to make recommendations about how to bring the MCA closer to ensuring the equal treatment of people with disabilities and offering them the support they need to exercise their legal capacity.

Did you check our easyread infographic about legal capacity? It may help you better understand what is meant by the term “legal capacity”.

If you are a person with a mental disability, please consider taking part in our research. We would love to hear about your experiences and views.

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