Bill clarifies gap in law over living willsBMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7455.1516-d (Published 24 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1516
- Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
The long awaited Mental Capacity Bill, which had its first reading in the House of Commons last week, sets up a statutory framework for advance refusals of medical treatment and substitute decision making for people unable to take decisions for themselves.
The measures, which will apply in England and Wales, will plug a gap in the law whereby nobody, not even the courts, has the power to take treatment decisions on behalf of mentally incompetent adults. Under current law, the courts can merely make declarations that doctors would not be acting unlawfully in providing, withholding, or withdrawing treatment …