Legislation and Regulation

Dementia Legislation

A range of legislation affects people living with dementia. These pages cover information on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the legislative framework for deprivation of liberty.

You can find resources explaining their relevance to the housing sector, as well as links to general information about them. They will be of interest to housing managers, providers and their partners. For example, this guide from Innovations in Dementia, 'Our Dementia, Our Rights' (opens new window).

While the Mental Capacity Act covers deprivation of liberty, we have put specific resources relating to it in a separate sub-category to help you find them. We list the sub-categories below.

You can access them by clicking on their title or in the menu on the left-hand side.

The Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 clarifies the legal position of those providing help or services to people who may lack the capacity to take certain actions or decisions for themselves. It defines key principles which must be applied. These include:

  • Presumption of capacity
  • Supporting individuals to make their own decisions
  • The individual's freedom to make unwise decisions
  • Always acting in the person's best interests
  • Using the least restrictive option. The Act provides a test to assess someone's capacity to make a particular decision.

The Act also provides mechanisms, such as lasting power of attorney and advance decisions to refuse treatment, which enable individuals to retain some control. These measures also help people ensure their wishes are implemented in the event of future loss of mental capacity.

An understanding and implementation of the Act is essential for people working with those living with dementia. The Act and code of practice apply to all staff working with people who may lack capacity.

Deprivation of Liberty

It is unlawful for any person to deprive any other person of their liberty except under certain circumstances and with due legal authorisation.

A Supreme Court judgement in March 2014 reduced the threshold at which someone is deemed to be deprived of their liberty if they lack the mental capacity to agree to the arrangements. This applies in housing settings as well as in care homes and hospitals.

Other relevant legislation

You might also want to look at information on other legislation not covered in this section. This includes the European Convention on Human Rights and Human Rights Act 1998, the Mental Health Acts 1983 and 2007 and the Equality Act 2010.