Mental Capacity in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Gorjat v Gorjat
    • Chancery Division
    • 29 Jun 2010

    Finally, at common law, the burden of proving lack of mental capacity lies on the person alleging it. To put the matter another way, every adult is presumed to have mental capacity to make the full range of lifetime decisions until the reverse is proved. Section 1(2) Mental Capacity Act 2005 which came into force after the decision which is under consideration in this case, put the presumption of mental capacity on a statutory footing.

    Miss Rich on behalf of the Claimants submits that the Claimants have discharged the burden of showing a prima facie case of lack of capacity and that accordingly, the positive burden of proving that Jean had capacity shifted to Lucrecia. Mr Waterworth on the other hand, submitted that the Claimants had not advanced a case which was sufficient to cause the evidential burden to shift and described the exercise as sterile in this case.

  • Re SA (Vulnerable Adult with Capacity: Marriage)
    • Family Division
    • 15 Dez 2005

    It suffices for present purposes to say that, in my judgment, the authorities to which I have referred demonstrate that the inherent jurisdiction can be exercised in relation to a vulnerable adult who, even if not incapacitated by mental disorder or mental illness, is, or is reasonably believed to be, either (i) under constraint or (ii) subject to coercion or undue influence or (iii) for some other reason deprived of the capacity to make the relevant decision, or disabled from making a free choice, or incapacitated or disabled from giving or expressing a real and genuine consent.

  • Masterman-Lister v Brutton; Masterman-Lister v Jewell
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 16 Jan 2003

    The authorities are unanimous in support of two broad propositions. First, that the mental capacity required by the law is capacity in relation to the transaction which is to be effected. Second, that what is required is the capacity to understand the nature of that transaction when it is explained. But they can be traced from much earlier authority. "should be capable of understanding what he did by executing the deed in question when its general import was fully explained to him"

    For the purposes of RSC 80 – and, now, CPR 21—the test to be applied, as it seems to me, is whether the party to legal proceedings is capable of understanding, with the assistance of such proper explanation from legal advisers and experts in other disciplines as the case may require, the issues on which his consent or decision is likely to be necessary in the course of those proceedings.

  • R v C
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 23 Mai 2008

    It does not follow from that irrational fear that the complainant would not have been capable of choosing whether or not to agree to sexual activity in circumstances which did not give rise to that fear. Irrational fear that prevents the exercise of choice cannot be equated with lack of capacity to choose. We agree with Munby J's conclusion that a lack of capacity to choose to agree to sexual activity cannot be 'person specific' or, we would add, 'situation specific'.

  • R v C
    • House of Lords
    • 30 Jul 2009

    My Lords, it is difficult to think of an activity which is more person and situation specific than sexual relations. One consents to this act of sex with this person at this time and in this place. Autonomy entails the freedom and the capacity to make a choice of whether or not to do so. This is entirely consistent with the respect for autonomy in matters of private life which is guaranteed by article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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