Capacity in the time of Coronavirus – article

An article written by me, “Capacity in the time of Coronavirus,” is now available in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry’s Special Issue: “Mental health, mental capacity, ethics and the law in the context of Covid-19 (coronavirus).”  The abstract is as follows:

In the course of a few short weeks, many of the established legal frameworks relating to decision-making in England & Wales in respect of those with impaired decision-making capacity have been ripped up, or apparently rendered all but unusable. Although the Mental Capacity Act 2005 itself has not been amended, the impact of other legislation (especially the Coronavirus Act 2020) means that duties towards those with impaired decision-making capacity have been radically changed. This article reflects the experience of a practising barrister in England & Wales grappling with the impact of COVID-19 upon the Mental Capacity Act 2005 across a range of fields in the weeks after the world appeared to change in mid-March 2020.

The article examines the impact of the Coronavirus Act on health and social care outside hospital; public health restrictions; the MCA under strain; the Court of Protection; medical decision-making, the MCA and scarce resource; and mental health law.

It is also available in pre-print via ResearchGate here.

Huge thanks to Professor Mary Donnelly for her editorial input and the two peer-reviewers who provided incisive and very helpful comments within 24 hours, enabling this to go from submission to pre-print publication in under a week.

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