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Mental Health and Capacity

The Report of the Bamford Review of Mental Health was published in August 2007. The Report made wide ranging recommendations for reform of the law relating to mental health and mental capacity. The Department of Health in March 2009 consulted on the content of a Mental Capacity Bill and mental health legislation intended to implement the Bamford recommendations. The Society responded to this consultation. In its response the Society gave particular attention to the proposal to abolish the Enduring Power of Attorney and replace it with a Lasting Power of Attorney, modeled on that currently available in England & Wales. Whilst the Society acknowledged the need to make provision for members of the public to empower trusted family members and friends to make decisions relating to their personal welfare should they become mentally incapacitated, the Society voiced caution at the proposal to abolish the Enduring Power of Attorney. In particular the Society pointed to the wide spread use of the Enduring Power of Attorney and the relatively low level of fraud perpetuated by attorneys in this jurisdiction in comparison with England & Wales.

On submitting its response the Society requested a meeting with the Department. At this meeting the Society further voiced its concern and suggested alternative reform initiatives. The Department have agreed to give the Society’s concerns further consideration and the Society has now been invited to sit on the Department’s Reference Group for Mental Capacity and Mental Health.