On this page, you can find my shedinars, which are divided into:

(1) Introductions to key elements of mental capacity law

(2) ‘In conversation’ with relevant – and interesting – people concerned with mental capacity.

(3) ‘Walkthroughs’ of guidance documents (produced, in particular, to respond to the guidance overload suffered by so many during the COVID-19 pandemic) – these are likely to be time-specific so they have dates attached.

In general, each shedinar is about 20 minutes long.

Introductions to key elements (boring but necessary caveat: none of these constitute legal advice)

  1. Capacity – the fundamentals
  2. Best interests – the fundamentals 
  3. Deprivation of liberty – the fundamentals
  4. The Court of Protection
  5. The Mental Health Act/Mental Capacity Act interface
  6. DNACPR notices and advance care planning
  7. The inherent jurisdiction of the High Court in relation to adults

You can find these in podcast form if you search for “Mental Capacity Matters with Alex Ruck Keene” on the podcast app of your choice, or click on this link from a suitable device.

In conversation with (and a brief idea of what each conversation covers)

  1. Mark Taubert, Palliative Care Physician, discussing the law and medicine in the context of advance care planning
  2. Jakki Cowley, IMCA, asking what IMCA advocacy is, top tips for engaging with medical teams and advocacy for those in Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness.
  3. Julian Sheatherspecialist adviser in ethics and human rights to the British Medical Association,  grappling with some of the ethical underpinnings to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 
  4. Dr Gareth Owen, psychiatrist, discussing what makes some capacity assessments complex, some tips for addressing messiness, and the importance of time
  5. Gill Loomes-Quinn, (in her words) a disabled scholar-activist, with a background in community advocacy, discussing, in particular, her PhD research around advance decision-making in the context of disability 
  6. Dr Lucy Series, academic, discussing in particular, the long and complex history of confinement, and why Cheshire West may be a case of be careful what you wish for.
  7. Dr Lucy Stephenson, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, discussing advance decision-making tools for people living with bipolar disorder and overcoming fears on the part of both service users and professionals.
  8. Lorraine Currie, social worker, discussing living the MCA in practice, and building invisible scaffolding as the supporter for her daughter Grace, who lives with an acquired brain injury.
  9. Dr Camilla Parker, legal and policy consultant, discussing deprivation of liberty and 16/17 year olds, and the practice guidance that we have produced about this issue for Research in Practice.
  10. Dr Lade Smith CBE, psychiatrist, discussing the ways in which capacity assessments under the MCA do and do not capture the cultural aspects of capacity, and the consequences for discrimination.
  11. Dr Tania Gergel, philosopher, discussing what philosophy can bring to thinking about decision-making capacity, the (mis)use of the presumption of capacity and advance decision-making and personhood.
  12. Professor Wayne Martin, philosopher and Director of the Essex Autonomy Project, digging into the concept of ‘insight’ and tease out how it might relate to mental capacity. 
  13. George Szmukler, Emeritus Professor of psychiatry, discussing the ‘fusion law’ concept that he has been instrumental in developing.
  14. Emma Overton, Policy and Practice Development Lead at North East Lincolnshire CCG, discussing commissioning and joined up thinking, especially in the medical treatment context.

You can find these in podcast form if you search for “Mental Capacity Matters with Alex Ruck Keene” on the podcast app of your choice, or click on this link from a suitable device. 

In addition, and as part of 39 Essex Chambers’ Public Law Webinar series, I did an ‘in conversation’ webinar with Dr Chris Danbury, intensive care consultant on decision support for doctors in the context of stretched resource (including, in the first half, detailed discussion of best interests in the ICU context), The webinar and slides can be found here, along with a note dealing with questions that we could not answer during the session.


  1. The DHSC Emergency MCA/DOLS guidance (10 April 2020)
  2. The DHSC Emergency MCA/DOLS guidance updated (29 May 2020)
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