Joint Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill First Report

20 Chapter 20: Change of Title

362. Finally, several witnesses have suggested to us that the title "Mental Incapacity Bill" was inappropriate and had negative connotations. They argued that the draft Bill was intended to recognise and give effect to the right to make decisions. They preferred "Mental Capacity Bill" which they saw as a more accurate description of the Bill, as well as more positive and reassuring.[373]

363. We agree that the test of mental capacity, rather than incapacity, is central to the Bill. The question of perception is even more important. The Bill must strike the right note. It should avoid the pejorative implications of incapacity and instil confidence in those it is intended to serve.

364. We looked at possible alternatives, such as "Assisted (or Proxy) Decision Making" but preferred the simple but accurate change from "Incapacity" to "Capacity". We hope that such a change might also symbolise the much-needed change in public understanding and attitudes to which we refer in Chapter 1.[374]

365. Accordingly, we recommend that consideration be given to changing the Bill's title to the "Mental Capacity Bill".

373   Ev 17 September Q166, (Mr Broach) 21 October Q653 (Ms.Aspis) and Q674 (Mr Allen) Back

374   See paragraphs 30 and 31 Back

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