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Mental capacity and 'best interest'

Young people should be making their own decisions once they reach the age of 16.

However, if the person lacks capacity due to their learning disability, then a ‘best interest’ decision must be made.

The term ‘best interests’ is not actually defined in Mental Capacity Act. This is because it cover many different types of decisions and actions, and many different people and circumstances are affected by it.

When working out what's in the best interests of the person who cannot act for themselves, decision-makers must account for all relevant factors. They must not consider only the factors that they believe are are important.

They must not act or make a decision based on what they would want to do if they were the person who lacked capacity.

Find out more about the Mental Capacity Act on the NHS website.