Amendments to Mental Capacity Act: Views sought

The court may be able to appoint professionals such as lawyers and social workers to make decisions on behalf of a mentally incapacitated person, if amendments to the Mental Capacity Act are approved.

It is one of three key changes that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is proposing in a public consultation from now till Dec 28.

According to a statement yesterday, the MSF also wants input on the circumstances in which the court can revoke deputyship or lasting power of attorney (LPA).

A deputy is a court-appointed person who makes decisions on behalf of someone who has lost mental capacity, while an LPA is a legal instrument to allow someone to act on a person's behalf if the latter loses mental capacity.

These nominated persons are also called donees.

Lastly, the MSF wants to know where the public stands on whether or not to allow the court to temporarily suspend powers of a donee or deputy before anyone lodges a formal complaint .

For example, social workers may be able to raise red flags to the courts if they suspect that a donee or deputy is not acting in their charges' best interests.

During the public consultation, the MSF will iron out the finer details of how the court could or should intervene when necessary.

A spokesman said: "Over the years, MSF has received useful feedback from the public... on how the Act's provisions can be refined to better serve and protect the dignity and interests of individuals who lack mental capacity."

Interested members of the public can log on to the Government's e-consultation portal Reach to give their take on the matter.

They can also write in to the Family Development Group at MSF or send an e-mail to consultations@msf.gov.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2015, with the headline 'Amendments to Mental Capacity Act: Views sought'. Print Edition | Subscribe