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Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

  • Gerard Lynch (a1) (a2), Catherine Taggart (a2) and Philip Campbell (a3)
Summary

Mental health legislation in Northern Ireland has always been separate from legislation in the rest of the UK; the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order (MHO) had been in place since 1986. In common with other jurisdictions, this legislation utilises the presence of mental disorder and risk as criteria for detention and involuntary treatment. The MHO has been replaced by the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (MCA), an example of ‘fusion’ legislation in which impairment of decision-making capacity and best interests are the only criteria to be used when making decisions across health and social care. In this paper, we outline the development of the MCA to date, and discuss its potential to improve mental healthcare by placing the treatment of mental illness within the same legislative framework as physical illnesses.

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Copyright
This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Gerard Lynch (gerry.lynch@northerntrust.hscni.net)
Footnotes
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See editorial, pp. 305–307, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 Department of Health. The Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability (Northern Ireland): A Comprehensive Legislative Framework. Department of Health, 2007.
2 Council of Europe. European Convention on Human Rights. Council of Europe, 2003.
3 United Nations. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. United Nations, 2006.
4 Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland, Department of Justice. Draft Mental Capacity Bill (Nl): Consultation Document. DHSSNI ' DOJ, 2014. Available at: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/consultations/dhssps/mental-capacity-consultation-document.pdf.
5 Szmukler, G, Kelly, BD. We should replace conventional mental health law with capacity-based law. Br J Psychiatry 2016; 209: 449–53.
6 Crisp, N, Nicholson, K, Smith, G (eds). Building on Progress: Achieving Parity for Mental Health in Northern Ireland. Final Report. The Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care, 2016.
7 Richardson, G. Mental capacity at the margin: the interface between two acts. Med Law Rev 2010; 18: 5677.
8 Okai, D, Owen, G, McGuire, H, Singh, S, Churchill, R, Hotopf, M. Mental capacity in psychiatric patients. Br J Psychiatry 2007; 191: 291–7.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
  • EISSN: 2056-4708
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

  • Gerard Lynch (a1) (a2), Catherine Taggart (a2) and Philip Campbell (a3)
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