Empowering whom? The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the problem of empowerment


  • Dr Lucy Series

    Cardiff University

Project summary

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) provides a legal framework for making 'best interests' decisions on behalf of adults who lack ‘mental capacity’ because of mental disabilities like dementia or learning disabilities. The Act is widely celebrated as ‘empowering’. However, its empowering credentials are increasingly contested. 

This project will enhance understanding of the nature of the problems with the MCA by tracing how the evolving concept of 'empowerment' has shaped both the Act and subsequent critiques. Drawing from academic literature, consultation materials and interviews with key figures, the project will explore the history of the MCA over three decades, from its inception and implementation to present day controversies.