Law affecting young adults with disabilities ‘needs revisiting’

The following is taken from the National Autistic Society’s ‘Autism’ magazine, Autumn 2019:

Law affecting young adults with disabilities ‘needs revisiting’

“The parents of three young people with learning disabilities – two of whom are also autistic – launched legal action to challenge law surrounding welfare deputyship.

The Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice says that when an adult lacks capacity, decisions should generally be taken in their best interests, and that relatives should only be appointed welfare deputies in extreme or complex cases.

However, the families in this case argued that this frequently resulted in them being ignored, and decisions were being made by social services departments that did not consider their children’s best interests.

Following their efforts and a court hearing in March, the Court of Protection has ruled that the Code of Practice should be reconsidered, and that it should not be presumed that welfare deputyship should be granted only in the most complex cases.

This is an important legal ruling that could change the way that many important decisions about autistic adults’ care and support are made. More families may want to be appointed as welfare deputies.

The National Autistic Society welcomes this judgment, and we will work with the Government when it updates the Code of Practice to make sure it gives autistic people and their families clear guidance.”
NAS Autumn 2019