The Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 has been broadly welcomed by the College, particularly its principles-based approach which emphasises respect for autonomy and non-discrimination.
There are two legal strands dealing with treatment without consent – common law and mental health law. Anyone with a physical disorder has a right to refuse unless they lack decision-making capacity - in which case a best interests principle applies. Those with a mental disorder can be treated against their wishes and this is a profound difference in the principles governing the treatment of physical and mental disorders.
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Law Society of NI "The Writ" Issue 228 (PDF) at pages 19 & 20 for Article by C Gillespie BL on Vulnerability, including reference to MCA (NI ) 2016
Mental Illness, Human Rights and the Law Brendan D. Kelly