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I am under the impression that where statute law exists (in this
case, Mental Health Act legislation) then it has a greater authority than
the common law "acting in a patient's best interests" approach. Therefore,
if a patient with mild to moderate dementia (a mental illness) requires
admission to an institution and does not have sufficient mental capacity
to either give or withhold informed consent, the only acceptable legal
approach would be to use current Mental Health Act legislation. I am no
lawyer but it seems to me that any other approach under common law is
unacceptable and may be illegal unless there is an emergency. Of course,
once the emregency has passed there will be a need to make recourse to
appropriate Mental Health Act legislation.